Reid Threatens Monday Votes

Posted May 11, 2009 at 2:23pm

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Monday warned his colleagues to prepare for votes next Monday to try to clear the backlog of executive branch nominations.

“It appears that we have no alternative but to have votes next Monday,— Reid said on the Senate floor, later adding that he may have to file procedural motions to overcome Republican objections to at least three of President Barack Obama’s nominees.

“I’ve tried lots of different ways to get them done, but there appears that the only thing I can do is file cloture,— Reid said.

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) has a hold on Craig Fugate, nominated to be administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) has a hold on David Hayes, nominated to be deputy secretary of the Interior Department. Reid wants to advance those two nominees, as well as Cameron Kerry, Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) brother and Obama’s pick for Commerce Department counsel, before the Memorial Day recess. The break begins May 22.

This week, the Senate is scheduled to take up legislation regulating the credit card industry. The chamber will likely vote on a war supplemental bill next week.

Meanwhile, there are at least 19 executive branch nominees in the pipeline awaiting Senate confirmation. The backlog includes Obama’s picks for the Interior, Justice, State and Commerce departments, among others.

But Reid vowed to plow through the hefty schedule in the runup to the break.

Reid said, “There are certain things we have to do before we go. We’ve got to complete this credit card legislation, as we know we have to. We need to do the supplemental appropriations bill. I’m confident we can work something out on that that should be fairly quickly.—