Last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid filed cloture on five nominations including:
- Lael Brainard, of the District of Columbia, to be an Under Secretary of the Treasury
- Marisa Demeo, of the District of Columbia, to be an Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia
- Christopher Schroeder, of North Carolina, to be an Assistant Attorney General
- Thomas Vanaskie, of Pennsylvania, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Third Circuit
- Denny Chin, of New York, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Second Circuit
All of these nominees were nominated by President Obama between six months to one year ago. None of them have been, as the The Center for American Progress‘ blogger, Matthew Yglesias, has reported, "political hot button(s)." Furthermore, never before have the Senate’s "advise and consent" responsibilities been abused in such a broad fashion.
Brainard, who is set up for a cloture vote today at 5:30pm ET, has been nominated to serve in a position critical to engaging China and representing U.S. interests at the G-20, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, among others.
Brainard, a highly qualified expert in international economics, is a devoted public servant who has spent most of her career serving the American people. She previously served with distinction as:
- Deputy National Economic Advisor for President Bill Clinton
- Vice President and Founding Director of the Brookings Institution’s Global Economy and Development Program
- Associate Professor of Applied Economics at MIT Sloan School
- White House Fellow
- National Science Foundation Fellow
Brainard is supported by:
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce
- Business Rountable
- U.S. Council on International Business
- Business Council for International Understanding
- Council of the Americas
- Coalition of Services Industries
- Emergency Committee for American Trade
- National Foreign Trade Council
- National Association of Manufacturers
After Brainard was voted out of committee with bipartisan support in December 2009 her confirmation process has ground to a halt due to a hold that’s been placed on her nomination and two other senior Treasury nominees. The hold is tied to a policy issue that is unrelated to her Treasury portfolio.
The unfortunate truth is that the use of "holds" to block the confirmation of nominees is an all too common occurrence in this Congress. And Republicans seemed to have perfected the use of them to the detriment of our government’s urgent policy priorities.