WASHINGTON — The White House and its allies are formulating ways to take advantage of this week's change in the Senate's filibuster rules to confirm more than 240 judicial and executive nominees awaiting approval.
Democrats hope to break a logjam in President Barack Obama's appointments, allowing him to push ahead with key parts of his agenda. But they also acknowledge that the political environment remains difficult, with many procedural tactics still available to Republicans intent on blocking his nominees.
Top priorities for the White House include the confirmation in December of Jeh Johnson as secretary of homeland security, Mel Watt to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency and Janet Yellen to chair the Federal Reserve, according to a White House official. Obama also hopes for quick confirmation of three nominees to the powerful U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which was at the center of the Senate fight, the official said.
"We will move the folks who are stalled, but it's not within our power to rush them through," said Adam Jentleson, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.