Back when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) unleashed the nuclear option in November 2013, our colleague Paul Kane noted that the Democrats might rue the day, predicting they would get their heretofore blocked judicial nominees confirmed — but precious few others.
Kane and other keen observers, were right. The Dems got their judges, but furious Republicans retaliated by blocking or delaying action on non-judicial nominees, reducing a steady confirmation flow down to a trickle.
This week, after an intense lobbying campaign waged by many nominees’ backers, a total of two dozen nominees likely will be confirmed. Eight were confirmed on Tuesday and seven on Wednesday. Thursday night the Senate is expected to confirm nine more before it heads out of town until after the elections.
More than a hundred other nominees will have to hope they’re part of a tiny group that could get through during the lame-duck session in November — or maybe next year, when the GOP likely will control the Senate, and they’ll only be in those jobs less than two years.
(On the other hand, Obama’s judges will be wearing those robes for decades.)
Here are the lucky nine scheduled to be confirmed Thursday night:
On the ambassadorial front, there are three “political” (or non-career foreign service) nominees teed up for confirmation: Mark Lippert, chief of staff to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, for South Korea, St. Louis attorney Kevin O’Malley for Ireland, Adam Scheinman, now a senior adviser for nuclear nonproliferation at the State Department, to be special rep to the president for nuclear nonproliferation.
In addition, Bathsheba Nell Crocker, now top deputy director in the State Department’s office of policy planning, to be assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs; Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, White House coordinator for defense policy, to be deputy Secretary of Energy; Robert Holleyman, president and CEO of the Business Software Alliance, for deputy U.S. Trade Representative; Eric Rosenbach, deputy assistant secretary of Defense for cyber policy to be assistant Secretary of Defense; D. Nathan Sheets, a former Fed official and international economist at Citigroup, to be Treasury under secretary; and Charles Fulghum, budget director at Homeland Security to be the department’s chief financial officer.
Back on the ambassadorial front, the White House anounced Thursday afternoon that Maria Echaveste, a former Clinton White House deputy chief of staff and before that a senior official in the Department of Labor, is the pick to be the next ambassador to Mexico and Washington lawyer Richard Rahul Verma, a former foreign policy advisor to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs, is to be nominated ambassador to India.