On the last day of the 115th Congress, a snuggly moment between the Republicans and Democrats in the Senate resulted in bi-partisan progress – a first in nearly two years. Legislators, perhaps still emerging from the good tidings fog of the season, voted in a new census director, a drug czar, and handfuls of backlogged ambassadorship posts.
Surprisingly, not one Democrat perished after crossing the aisle for the good of the order.
The positions were mostly executive-branch level – less than controversial — including several U.S. attorneys and administration fills for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). But they were a thorn in the president’s side for weeks and his frustration was evident in many a tweet storm:
“Heads of countries are calling wanting to know why Senator Schumer is not approving their otherwise approved Ambassadors!? Likewise in Government lawyers and others are being delayed at a record pace! 360 great and hardworking people are waiting for approval from Senator Schumer, more than a year longer than any other Administration in history. These are people who have been approved by committees and all others, yet Schumer continues to hold them back from serving their Country! Very Unfair!”
It would appear that U.S. Senators are more productive by phone than when pontificating on the Senate floor, as they confirmed 60 nominations by voice vote within hours of the changing of the guard.
As the position goes, being assigned as a U.S. Department of State Ambassador is either a cushy payback job in a peaceful country, or a downright life-threatening post more in line with the Department of Defense. And although Australia is a friend and ally, the U.S. has had no official presence since 2016 – now rectified, as Arthur Culvahouse Jr. passed the muster.
Others to take up diplomatic relations are Kyle McCarter to the Republic of Kenya, Lucy Tamlyn to the Central African Republic, William H. Moser, of North Carolina to the Republic of Kazakhstan, and Christopher Paul Henzel to the Republic of Yemen – an extremely unfriendly environment.
As ambassadors were ticked off, one by one, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), sarcastically opined, “About time.”
Noticeably, confirmations that did not take place were for federal lifetime judicial nominees, which is a key priority for Trump and Republicans. The only judge confirmed was Carmen Guerricagoitia McLean, a nomination for associate judge of the Superior Court of the District Columbia.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R-KY) seemed pleased for Trump, stating, “I’m glad the president will have more of his rightful team in place, and I’m glad that this group of newly confirmed nominees will be able to get to work on important business for the American people.”
The End of the 115th
Honestly, no one really knows why the left crossed the aisle on the second day of the new year, but they did, and steps were made towards moving the business of America along.
It is also not clear whether Trump’s bullying had any effect on Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) or if the stubborn old coot was ready to clear the docket for the next round of nonsense and obstruction. A betting person would lay money on the latter, as threats and innuendo are splashed across all media outlets by the hour, warning of impeachment and other such drivel.
The good old U.S. of A. loves a comeback, and this was one. Even if it lacked a showy stature, it was a win nonetheless and should be celebrated as such by all Americans.