As part of the deal, Janet Yellen’s confirmation vote will be held in January. | Reuters
The confirmation vote for the most high-profile nomination — Janet Yellen as chairwoman of the Federal Reserve — will be held in January, according to the agreement. And the Senate will vote on the confirmations of Alejandro Mayorkas as deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, John Koskinen as commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service and Brian Davis as a U.S. district judge in Florida all on Friday morning.
Earlier Thursday, senators had been preparing for a rare weekend session as Republicans and Democrats were at loggerheads over when to hold votes on the handful of nominations that were remaining on the Senate’s docket. Senate Democrats were informed during their closed-door party meeting Thursday that they would be staying in Washington through Saturday, and Senate Republicans had sketched out a plan that would ensure one of its members would stick around on the floor at all times to keep their eyes on Democrats.
In addition to those four, six other executive branch nominees were pending — mostly deputy posts for agencies such as the Treasury Department and the State Department. That batch of nominees will now be sent back to the White House since they weren’t cleared by the Senate by the end of the year.
Republicans had deemed the nominees on the calendar either nonessential or controversial, and had demanded some time to vote on amendments on the defense authorization bill — another piece of business the Senate has to take care of before lawmakers leave. And the GOP senators are still fuming after Democrats pulled the trigger on the nuclear option to change rules on most nominations.
Different Republican senators had varied concerns or demands with the nominations. For instance, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the chamber’s top Republican, announced his opposition to Koskinen earlier Thursday, saying he would not “rubberstamp” a new leader for the agency under fire for targeting conservative advocacy groups earlier this year.
And Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) had long insisted on a vote on his “Audit the Fed” bill in exchange for speeding up a vote on Yellen. The vote on her confirmation, which would have likely been held on Saturday evening, is now scheduled for Jan. 6.
The new date for Yellen’s confirmation vote should not matter much, since current chairman Ben Bernanke is slated to stay at the Fed through Jan. 31.