Browsing: Senate

Paul Light on the unofficial Cabinet

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NYU professor Paul Light has a good op-ed in today’s New York Times on the interminable Senate confirmation process and how that leads to the growth of unconfirmed “czar” positions: The Senate has done virtually nothing, for example, to address the glacial pace of confirmations that often leads presidents to expand the White House staff as well as the number of appointees who serve without Senate approval. Although he has submitted the names of nominees to the Senate relatively quickly, President Obama will be lucky if the last of his nearly 500 full-time cabinet and subcabinet officers are confirmed by…

Panetta confirmed as CIA director

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The Senate last night voted to confirm Leon Panetta as the CIA’s new director. Panetta and new Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair have promised to reduce the size of the intelligence community’s contractor work force, and pledged to bring interrogation positions almost entirely back in house.

Intel committee approves Blair

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The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence yesterday approved Adm. Dennis Blair’s nomination to be the nation’s third Director of National Intelligence. The vote was unanimous. The full Senate plans to weigh in on Blair’s nomination soon, though a date has not yet been set for the vote. He is expected to be confirmed. Blair will replace Michael McConnell, who resigned Jan. 27.

Senate Appropriations approves stimulus

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Senate appropriators voted 21-9 along party lines today to send the proposed economic stimulus bill to the Senate floor, setting it up for a possible vote by the end of the week. Senate Appropriations Chairman Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, entertained little discussion on amendments, telling senators to propose their amendments once the bill reaches the Senate floor. Most of the Republicans voting yes on the $365 billion proposal said they did so only to further debate and adhere to committee rules, not to endorse the components of the stimulus. Only Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, voted without adding an explanation to her…

Senate approves five Obama officials

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Barack Obama’s Cabinet is filling up. Last night the Senate confirmed: Shaun Donovan to be Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Ray LaHood to be Secretary of Transportation. In other confirmation news: Susan Rice, Obama’s choice for U.N. ambassador, was approved. Nancy Sutley was confirmed as chairwoman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. And finally, Lisa Jackson was given the green light to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, after Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., lifted his objection to a vote by unanimous consent.

Byrd gives up chairmanship

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Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., announced this afternoon he’s stepping down as chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, effective Jan. 6, 2009. But Byrd, who’s never know for his succinctness, started out his statement with a little (unintentional?) humor. To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven.” Which, of course, is a verse from Ecclesiastes from the Bible. But it’s also a lyric from the famous song by the sixties group The Byrds. The Byrds? Sen. Byrd? Oh, we’re just cracking ourselves up here. But seriously folks, Byrd’s expected to take on an honorary…

Lieberman's fate? He's not telling

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So is Sen. Joe Lieberman losing his Senate Government Oversight Committee chairmanship? If he knows, he’s not saying. Lieberman, I-Conn., called a news conference this afternoon. Many reporters were hoping he’d reveal his future in the Senate. After Lieberman campaigned heavily for Sen. John McCain , R-Ariz., many expected Lieberman to lose his chairmanship of the committee. Lieberman has caucused with Democrats as a senator. Sen . (Harry) Reid (D-Nev.) and I have just concluded what I could call a very good conversation between two colleagues and friends. I want to spend some time in the next few days thinking…