Senate confirms dozens of nominees as they leave for August break

Senate confirms dozens of nominees as they leave for August break
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The Senate confirmed dozens of President Trump's nominations on Thursday as lawmakers race to leave town for the August recess. 

Senators confirmed nearly 70 nominees by unanimous consent — allowing lawmakers to skip over a marathon of votes. The deal was a result of days of negotiations between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat McConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Brent Budowsky: A plea to Alabama voters MORE (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerAmerica isn't ready to let Sessions off his leash Schumer celebrates New York Giants firing head coach: ‘About time’ GOP should reject the left's pessimism and the deficit trigger MORE (D-N.Y.). 

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“The Senate has confirmed more Executive Branch nominees this week than all of the Executive Branch nominees confirmed this year — combined," McConnell said after the slate of nominations was approved. 

McConnell added that he hoped the deal "represents the way forward on confirming nominees so our government can be fully staffed and working for the American people.” 

The Senate could confirm more nominees before it formally adjourns. Senators have been confirming bundles of nominations, including a slate of Pentagon picks, throughout the week.

Democrats have been slow-walking Trump's nominees for months because of the fight over the GOP effort to repeal ObamaCare, but pledged that they would be more cooperative once that legislation failed. 

"But now that healthcare is done I think we can tie the two together — normal way of legislating, clearing noncontroversial nominees as we move forward in September," Schumer said. 

Included in the slate of nominations is former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's nomination to be NATO ambassador, Jessica Rosenworcel and Brendan Carr to the Federal Communications Commission, and Mark Andrew Green to lead the U.S. Agency for International Development. 

As of late last week, there were 198 nominees working their way through the Senate's pipeline, according to a tracker by The Washington Post and the Partnership for Public Service. 

The nominations package was the last major item on the Senate's agenda before lawmakers leave town for the August recess. 

The Senate is scheduled to be in session through the end of next week. McConnell had delayed the recess by two weeks so senators could use the extra time to catch up on backlogged nominations and legislation.

However, following the healthcare setback and a delay on the National Defense Authorization Act while Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat Meghan McCain knocks Bannon: 'Who the hell are you' to criticize Romney? Dems demand Tillerson end State hiring freeze, consult with Congress MORE (R-Ariz.) is undergoing cancer treatment, senators were widely expected to cut out of Washington on Thursday.