For Immediate Release
March 5, 2003
"and Finally, Also in the Senate, I Indicated Yesterday That Senator Daschle Had Made a Commitment as Far as the Confirmation of Many of the Remaining Positions That Have Not Yet Been Confirmed Which Are Ready for Senate Floor Action. It Appears Now That Some Senators May Be Raising Objections and Placing Holds to Senate Action on Many of These Conferees.
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"And finally, also in the Senate, I indicated yesterday that Senator Daschle had made a commitment as far as the confirmation of many of the remaining positions that have not yet been confirmed which are ready for Senate floor action. It appears now that some senators may be raising objections and placing holds to Senate action on many of these conferees.
There are 60 nominees who are waiting for a vote. If the Senate does
not act, many critical positions will remain vacant. These include the
Deputy Secretary of Energy, Deputy Director of the Federal Emergency
Management Administration, the Deputy Administrator of NASA, the Deputy
Director for Management in the Office of Management and Budget, 29
foreign policy nominees which include critical positions like Assistant
Secretary for Arms Control for Verification and Compliance, and, of
course, the judicial nominee, as well.
The President believes in the commitment he got from Senator
Daschle and the President will be looking to the Senate to honor that
commitment this week."
Q Does the President plan any additional efforts to salvage -- to
try to salvage Pricilla Owen's nomination, now that it's been
MR. FLEISCHER: Well, the postponement actually allows the President
to have more time and allows the administration to have more time to
talk to some of the senators whose votes may be reachable. So the
President hopes that this will allow for her confirmation. He's
dedicated to it. He thinks she's an outstanding jurist and he hopes the
Senate will act in a bipartisan way and not a partisan way.
This is another interesting case where the rules in the Senate just
keep seeming to change, depending on what will stop legislation or
people from moving forward. For instance, when it came to Medicare, the
Finance Committee could have put together a bipartisan package, but the
Senate leadership made a decision not to allow bipartisanship to take
place in committee, so they pulled the bill out of committee and put it
on the floor where, obviously, it didn't go anywhere.
Energy legislation met the same fate. A bipartisan energy plan
could have been put together in the Senate Energy Committee. Senate
leadership decided to kill it by pulling it from the committee and then
they put it on the floor and a very different version of the bill
When it comes to judicial nominations, the Senate leadership does
just the opposite tact and they're content to bottle it up in committee
in an attempt to kill it in committee. The one consistent action seems
to be to thwart the bipartisan will of the Senate.