Senate to Work Through Backlog of Nominees

Posted April 17, 2010 at 10:50am

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in the coming week wants to clear the backlog of executive and judicial nominees, beginning with a procedural vote Monday night on the nomination of Lael Brainard for an undersecretary position at the Treasury Department.

Reid filed cloture petitions on a handful of other names Thursday before shutting the chamber down for the week, including: Maria Demeo to serve on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, Thomas Vanaskie to serve on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Denny Chin to serve on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and Christopher Schroder to serve as assistant attorney general.

The latest push on nominees comes as the Senate braces for a summer Supreme Court battle and just after President Barack Obama exercised his recess appointment power to clear 15 names, including controversial pick Craig Becker, tapped to serve on the National Labor Relations Board.

Last week, Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) called on Republicans to approve 22 judicial nominees and hinted that some procedural maneuvering was in the works.

Debate on legislation to reform the financial regulatory system, drafted by Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), could begin in the coming week, although the timeline remains unclear.

The House returns to work Tuesday, and Democrats plan to bring to the floor legislation giving House voting rights to residents of the District of Columbia, as well as legislation on Iran sanctions and a veterans health care bill, aides said. But behind the scenes, Democratic leaders will be trying to craft their fiscal 2011 budget resolution. The House’s agenda remains on the light side; the bulk of the president’s agenda has already passed the House, with several items awaiting action in the Senate.