With a New Congress, Comes Another Try for Biden’s Nominees
“We seek the swift confirmation of many critical, crucial, high-qualified nominees to serve across the administration,” said White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
With the start of the new session of Congress, the White House is working to renominate individuals who were not confirmed during the last one.
Now that the Democrats have increased their majority in the Senate in the midterm elections and don’t need the vice president as tie breaker, the Biden administration will likely have an easier time getting its nominees through than if the chamber had flipped. Over the past almost two years, the Biden administration has broken records with its nominations and confirmations in regard to diversity and the pace of judicial nominations.
“We seek the swift confirmation of many critical, crucial, high-qualified nominees to serve across the administration,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said during a gaggle on Wednesday when asked if the White House will be renominating everybody who was nominated in the previous Congress. “We'll be renominating a number of officials in the coming weeks. I don't have a specific number to share with you at this time.”
However, she noted the White House “did a good portion” on Tuesday, which included many U.S. ambassadors and judges as well as some agency heads, key national security positions and members of bipartisan boards and commission. Some of the specific roles were: commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, general counsel for the Veterans Affairs Department, assistant secretary of the Defense Department and administration of the Federal Aviation Administration.
Jean-Pierre said the White House is not “hiding the ball” on those they don’t want to nominate anymore, but rather working through the process. The individuals renominated on Tuesday “are critical to our public safety, critical to our national security, and incredibly important…for the American people.
The Senate has confirmed 512 of President Biden’s nominees in his almost two years in office, 80 are currently pending before the Senate and the president has yet to nominate 82, according to The Washington Post and the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service’s tracker for major positions, which does not include judges, marshals, U.S attorneys or military appointments.
Late last month, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., stated that during the 117th Congress the Senate made history by “confirming more judges than either of the two previous administrations, elevating the first Black woman to the Supreme Court in Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson and bringing meaningful and previously lacking diversity to the federal bench, making our courts more reflective of our country.”
The Partnership for Public Service has long been a proponent of reducing the number of Senate confirmed positions. In early 2020 it released a study that the confirmation process was twice as long in 2019 as it was in 1981.
“The complexity of the appointment process makes it difficult for any president to get a full team in place quickly, and this hampers the functioning of federal agencies that must cope with leadership voids for long periods of time,” Max Stier, president and CEO of the Partnership wrote in an opinion article for The Hill last month. “A smaller corps of politically appointed officials, supported by career employees, will promote professional expertise, stability and greater accountability to Congress and the public.”