Obama Renominates Several Controversial Picks

Posted January 26, 2011 at 7:36pm

President Barack Obama sent dozens of nominations to Congress on Wednesday evening, including several controversial individuals whom he installed by recess appointment during the previous Congress.

Obama renominated Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board and Donald Berwick to be administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The president circumvented the Senate confirmation process to install both last year after the nominations ran into GOP opposition. He also used a recess appointment to make William Boarman the head of the Government Printing Office. Boarman’s original nomination was reportedly blocked, and Obama renominated him Wednesday.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has vehemently opposed Becker, a former AFL-CIO lawyer, because of his support for expanded labor rights.

Berwick’s renomination was quickly denounced by Sen. Orrin Hatch.

“A day after the president committed to coming together to move our country forward, he’s chosen to renominate one of his most contentious nominees to head an agency that impacts the lives of more than 100 million Americans,” the Utah Republican said, calling the nomination “disappointing.”

Republicans had tied Berwick’s nomination to their unhappiness with the health care overhaul law, and Hatch indicated his intention to push Berwick on the implementation of that law at his hearing.

Obama also sent seven judicial nominations to the Senate. Democrats have complained that the 111th Congress had a poor record of confirming judges, but Republicans have blamed Obama for being slow to fill openings.

Wednesday’s nominations also included Donald Verrilli to succeed Elena Kagan as solicitor general. Kagan was confirmed as a Supreme Court justice last year.