After Threat, Obama Gets His Nominees

President Barack Obama dropped his threat to bypass the Senate and install nominees to their positions through recess appointments -- at least for now.

Recess appointments can be made while the Senate is out of session and are a way for presidents to get around the need for a confirmation vote. The president said in a statement Thursday evening that he is encouraged by confirmation earlier in the day of 27 high-level nominees.

On Tuesday, Obama threatened to make the recess appointments to get around senators who had placed "holds" on his nominees, which prevent, or at least delay, the Senate from moving forward with nominations. By the White House’s count, at the start of the week, 63 nominees had been stalled with holds.

At a meeting with top congressional leaders on Tuesday, Obama told Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell that he would use his recess appointment power if Republican senators did not release their holds.

"Many holds were motivated by a desire to leverage projects for a Senator's state or simply to frustrate progress," the president said in a statement Thursday evening. "It is precisely these kinds of tactics that enrage the American people."

Since then, the president said he was gratified that Republicans released their holds and allowed 29 nominees to receive votes. Nominees confirmed on Thursday include appointees to the Treasury Department, Pentagon, Health and Human Services and Justice Department, among others.

"While this is a good first step, there are still dozens of nominees on hold who deserve a similar vote, and I will be looking for action from the Senate when it returns from recess," Obama said. "If they do not act, I reserve the right to use my recess appointment authority in the future."