Appointee Watch: Pace of Names Slows During Recess

Evan Vucci/AP

A week after the Senate voted to confirm an array of President Trump’s nominees to key administration posts, Congress is now in recess and the president is on a working vacation in New Jersey. But the process of identifying candidates for government positions has not stopped.

On Thursday, Trump announced that he was appointing Neil Chatterjee to serve as chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. A former policy adviser to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Chatterjee was confirmed by the Senate to be a member of FERC last week. The chair designation does not require congressional action.

And last week, Trump nominated another 10 people to serve as federal judges, as well as four more U.S. attorneys.

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But looming over the August break are significant holes in the Trump White House in the form of Homeland Security secretary—a job vacated by now-Chief of Staff John Kelly—and the director of the Office of Personnel Management, where Kathleen McGettigan continues to serve in an acting role. And the growing tension between the United States and North Korea has highlighted the fact that Trump has not yet named his ambassador to South Korea.

According to The Washington Post and the Partnership for Public Service, which are keeping track of more than 500 posts requiring Senate confirmation, lawmakers have approved 117 people for their jobs in the administration. But 106 nominees await a Senate vote, and 354 positions remain vacant.

In recent days, Trump has named the following people to jobs in his administration:

Defense: John Henderson, assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and energy. Henderson most recently was commander of the Omaha District of the Army Corps of Engineers. He has 23 years’ experience as an Army engineer officer, and he served combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: Daniel Gade, member. Gade served in a number of roles related to federal veterans and disability policy during the George W. Bush administration. In 2015, then-Speaker John Boehner appointed him to serve on the National Council on Disability, and he is a combat veteran who was wounded in action twice in Iraq.

Interior: Ryan Nelson, solicitor. Nelson is an attorney with experience in all three branches of the federal government, including a stint as deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s environment and natural resources division.

State: Duke Buchan, ambassador to Spain and Andorra. Buchan is an entrepreneur, financier and a farmer. His firm, Hunter Global Investors, manages a range of investment funds, and he and his family own and manage farms that specialize in heirloom vegetables and horses.

Thomas Hushek, ambassador to South Sudan. Hushek has been a career diplomat since 1988. He is the principal deputy assistant secretary and acting assistant secretary in the State Department’s bureau of conflict and stabilization operations.

Jamie McCourt, ambassador to France and Monaco. McCourt was initially nominated to be ambassador to Belgium, but that appointment was withdrawn last week. McCourt is an attorney and entrepreneur. She was a co-owner and president and CEO of the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2009 until 2011.

Veterans Affairs: Melissa Glynn, assistant secretary for enterprise integration. Glynn most recently led business consultants Alvarez and Marsal’s public sector practice, which focused on improving the delivery of government programs and education. Previously, she was a principal at PricewaterhouseCoopers, where she worked closely with the VA.

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