A Day Late, Paperwork Short on Nominations


President Donald Trump has submitted far fewer nominations to the Senate by this point in his term than any of his four recent predecessors, and hundreds of vacancies are languishing across the government.

While the pace of submitting nominations has ticked up in recent weeks, to date Trump has nominated just 130 positions out of 564 “key” positions in the government, according to the Partnership for Public Service, a nonpartisan organization that is tracking executive branch nominations through the confirmation process.

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Looking across administrations, the organization tracked nominations sent to the Senate by June 20, finding that 161 Trump nominees had been confirmed or sent but not yet confirmed.

By comparison, the Obama administration had 295 nominees confirmed or pending by the same point; the George W. Bush administration had 250 nominees; the Clinton administration had 225 nominees; and the George H.W. Bush administration had 204 nominees.

What Trump aides are complaining about, however, is the length of time it takes to confirm nominees once submitted.

Data show that the average time to confirm a Trump nominee through June 20 has been 43 days. This compares to 34 days for Obama nominees, 24 days for George W. Bush nominees, 25 days for Clinton nominees, and 29 days for George H.W. Bush nominees.

“We have seen obstruction like never before,” said Sarah Sanders, deputy press secretary at the White House, on June 28.

“The average time that it’s taking for us to get somebody through the process and confirmed is significantly longer than any historical precedent by several weeks,” Sanders said.

The reason, Sanders said, is the lengthy process and “obstruction by Democrats.”

Democrats, however, are quick to point to the many nominations that arrive in the Senate with all or parts of required paperwork missing.

On June 15, Lynn Johnson was nominated to be an assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services, but is missing her committee questionnaire and tax returns. Jason Kearns was nominated June 29 to be a member of the U.S. International Trade Commission with no paperwork.

No paperwork was received for the June 6 nomination of Carlos Muniz to be general counsel at the Department of Education; the June 20 nomination of Lance Robertson to be assistant secretary for aging at HHS; or the June 26 nomination of Kyle Fortson to be a member of the National Mediation Board, among others, according to a list provided by a Senate Democratic aide.