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Jonathan Bernstein

Senate Republicans Have Put a Stranglehold on Nominations

The GOP is largely to blame for the delay in filling top government jobs, but Democrats could be doing more, too.

Slowing down the process.

Slowing down the process.

Photographer: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The process of confirming judges and executive branch officials has been dysfunctional for some time, and it’s getting worse. Republicans are largely to blame for a situation that has left hundreds of senior government roles vacant. But Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and the Democrats have failed to do what they can to make things better.

By the end of this week, Joe Biden will have been president for 600 days. During that time, the Senate has confirmed 442 of his nominees for key jobs in the top echelons of government and 78 federal judges, or well under one per day. The problem? There are an additional 140 executive branch nominations and 62 judicial nominations either before the Senate or on their way there. That’s 202 pending nominations, and there are only about 120 days remaining until the 118th Congress is sworn in on Jan. 3.