Earlier today, Harry Reid pushed through Senate confirmations of Tony Blinken to be deputy secretary of State and Sarah Saldaña to head up Immigration and Customs Enforcement. At that point, Republicans, finally tired of staying in session and convinced that Reid wasn’t bluffing about continuing to hold confirmation votes, caved in:
Dozens of nominees were confirmed unanimously or by voice vote as the clock ticked on, building on Democrats’ progress pushing through several bitterly contested nominations during the last days of their majority. After fighting Democrats tooth and nail for more than a year on lifetime judicial appointments, Republicans waved the white flag on fighting Reid’s attempts to confirm a dozen judicial nominations and allowed eleven of them to go through without dissent.
Wait. Dozens of nominees? How many dozen?
Democrats controlling the Senate also secured agreements from Republicans to confirm at least six dozen of President Obama’s nominees to serve as federal judges, agency bosses and on myriad government boards, a last-minute coup for the White House since most of the picks faced tougher odds next year once Republicans take full control of Capitol Hill.
And of course everyone knows who to thank for all this:
Most of the day was consumed with nominations, none more irritating to many Republicans than the ones who received a vote because of an impulsive move by one of their colleagues. And with the book now closed on the 113th Congress, they could go down as the Cruz Confirmations — the batch of the president’s nominees who were confirmed by the Senate only after Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, forced his colleagues to stay in session for 10 hours on a bleak December Saturday.
“No, we would not have had all of these 24 confirmations, and I think most people know that,” said Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, referring to the two dozen nominees that Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, forced votes once Mr. Cruz made his move.