13 Trump Nominees Await Approval; Agencies Without a Leader

Photo by Gage Skidmore

Photo by Gage Skidmore

(The Daily Signal) President Donald Trump moved at a blistering pace to fulfill several campaign promises during his first week in the White House. At the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, however, 13 of his Cabinet nominees continue to wait for confirmation votes.

Obama had 11 of his 15 Cabinet secretaries in place after his first week. Trump has two.

Trump begins his second week with the same number of Cabinet secretaries as last week: two. That number should at least double by Tuesday after the Senate votes to confirm Rex Tillerson for secretary of state and Elaine Chao for secretary of transportation.

The slow pace of confirmations is delaying Trump’s ability to implement his agenda, several former administration officials told The Daily Signal.

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It’s also a sharp contrast from President Barack Obama’s early days. Trump’s Democrat predecessor had 11 of his 15 Cabinet secretaries in place after his first week (including Robert Gates, who remained as defense secretary from the prior administration).

Five of the past six presidents—Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama—had nearly their entire Cabinet installed by their second week in the White House. President George H.W. Bush faced delays, but he had the advantage of retaining three of Reagan’s Cabinet secretaries.

This week’s planned confirmation votes on Tillerson and Chao, coupled with committee action on several other nominees, should generate some movement after the GOP-controlled Senate made little progress last week. (See list at bottom for this week’s schedule.)

Last week, Republicans left town for a three-day retreat in Philadelphia, but they did confirm two non-Cabinet officials: Mike Pompeo to lead the CIA and Nikki Haley as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. On Jan. 20, Inauguration Day, the Senate approved James Mattis for defense secretary and John Kelly for homeland security secretary….

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