Biden is outpacing Trump on Senate-confirmed positions

Includes all Senate-confirmed positions such as judges, ambassadors and part-time positions; Data: Partnership for Public Service; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Nearly two years into his presidency, President Biden and a 50-50 Senate have left many top positions unfilled, with dozens of embassies missing an ambassador and key agencies lacking a Senate-confirmed leader.

Driving the news: The Democrat’s new 51-seat Senate majority should help Biden remedy the situation. It will also give him wiggle room to potentially rejigger his Cabinet.

  • The new math will also strip any single Democrat — like Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who torpedoed Neera Tanden, Biden’s first OMB pick — of an effective veto.

The big picture: Biden is outpacing former President Trump in terms of Senate-confirmed positions, but he’s well behind former Presidents Bush and Obama and has received some friendly fire from members of his own party.

  • His first pick to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Cornell University professor Saule Omarova, had to withdraw her nomination last year after a group of Democrats announced its opposition. Biden hasn’t settled on a replacement.
  • His pick for FCC commissioner, Gigi Sohn, remains stalled in the Senate and is unlikely to receive a vote this year.

What they are saying: “Given the insane system that we have, Biden is doing well,” said Max Stier, president of the Partnership for Public Service, which tracks the data. “He is hanging with the norm.”

  • “But the reality is that there are very large gaps in leadership positions across the government,” he said.
  • “The problem is that it’s in every agency,” he said.

By the numbers: Some 1,200 total positions in the judiciary and executive branch, including federal judges, U.S. attorneys, Cabinet secretaries and ambassadors, require Senate confirmations.

  • Biden has sent 1,014 nominations to the Senate, but has had only 702 confirmed, for a 69% confirmation rate, according to data provided by the Partnership for Public Service.

  • Trump made 1,020 nominations, with 615 confirmations, for a 60% rate.
  • Obama had 1,017 nominations for 817, for a 80% rate.
  • Bush outpaced them all, making 1,102 nominations, and winning 957 confirmations, for a 87% rate.

Between the lines: Biden pledged to revitalize diplomacy and reinvigorate the State Department.

  • But he has struggled to make good on his promise, drawing a tut-tut editorial from The Washington Post.
  • Of the 168 ambassadorships to countries (and not multilateral institutions like the United Nations), Biden has his envoys in 91 of them, or 54%.
  • An additional 32 (19%) don’t have an ambassador, with Biden failing to nominate anyone for 11 (7%) of them, including Italy.

Read More:Biden is outpacing Trump on Senate-confirmed positions

2022-12-09 01:21:30

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