“I’m pleased that the Senate took action today to move forward on the nominees who have waited far too long for a vote,” Obama said. “Over the last two years, I’ve nominated leaders to fill important positions required to do the work of the American people, only to have those positions remain unfilled – not because the nominees were somehow unqualified, but for purely political reasons.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidRepublican failure Senate about to enter 'nuclear option' death spiral Top GOP senator: 'Tragic mistake' if Democrats try to block Gorsuch MORE (D-Nev.) and Republican Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellThe truth is the latest casualty of today’s brand of politics McCain and Graham: We won't back short-term government funding bill Senate seen as starting point for Trump’s infrastructure plan MORE (Ky.) announced on Tuesday the terms of a deal that should pave the way for the confirmations of a handful of Obama nominees. Sen. John McCainJohn McCainOvernight Finance: Senate Dems call for investigation of acting SEC chairman | Wyden: Russia probe should focus on Trump financial ties | Dems seek more money for IRS Overnight Defense: Pentagon considers more troops for Afghanistan | McCain, Graham won't back short-term funding | GOP defends Trump rules of engagement McCain and Graham: We won't back short-term government funding bill MORE (R-Ariz.) helped broker the agreement.
“I want to thank the Senators from both parties – including Leader Reid, Leader McConnell and Senator McCain – who have worked together to find a path forward and give these nominees the votes they deserve,” Obama continued. “In the weeks ahead, I hope the Congress will build on this spirit of cooperation to advance other urgent middle-class priorities, including the need to take action to pass commonsense immigration reform and keep interest rates on student loans low for families trying to afford a higher education.”
As part of the agreement, Obama will withdraw two nominees to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), while Republicans have agreed to hold votes on the replacement nominees before the August recess.
At a press conference before the deal had been finalized, White House spokesman Jay Carney declined to comment as to whether Obama was open to the idea of withdrawing the NLRB nominations, saying he didn’t “want to jinx anything.”
“We are for a resolution that allows for the confirmation of the president's qualified nominees -- his nominees,” Carney said. “And I don’t want to get ahead of any potential settlement that’s reached through negotiation among senators.
“What I would say is that the issue at stake here is that the president ought to be able to nominate individuals, and if they are qualified, they should be considered and confirmed in a timely fashion,” he continued. “And the president hopes and expects that this conflict will be resolved in a way that allows for his nominees to be confirmed.”