[Congressional Record: February 4, 2010 (Senate)]
[Page S451-S452]


  Mr. REID. Madam President, since I last asked unanimous consent to 
have confirmed three important nominations--one, the top intelligence 
official at the Department of Homeland Security, the other a top 
intelligence official at the State Department, and the third the 
highest ranking member of the entire Pentagon--I said three and there 
are actually four I asked unanimous consent on, and the fourth is an 
individual who would be the U.S. Representative to the Conference on 
Disarmament. All these positions are dealing with these programs the 
United States should be involved in, but we had an objection from the 
  There are people out there, evil people, trying to do damage to our 
country every day, every week, every month, every hour. It is hard for 
me to comprehend that people with impeccable records, such as Philip 
Goldberg, an appointee of President Bush to be Ambassador to Bolivia, 
who has an outstanding record of doing things for our country, is being 
objected to as being the person assigned by the White House and 
Secretary Clinton to be in charge of intelligence at the State 
  Caryn Wagner, who is eminently qualified, I have never heard anything 
suggested that there is anything wrong with her background or 
qualifications. Yet there is objection to her being the person who 
deals with the safety of our homeland.
  Laura Kennedy is the woman nominated to be the U.S. Representative to 
the Conference on Disarmament. We are a nuclear power, and the United 
States doesn't have anybody at these conferences.
  Finally, GEN Clifford Stanley to be Under Secretary of Defense. This 
man would be the third highest ranking person at the Pentagon. One of 
the things he is responsible for is making sure all our troops around 
the world have everything they need. He is responsible for making sure 
the 30,000 people who are headed for Afghanistan can go to Afghanistan 
when deemed ready to go by the Pentagon. That is his job. There is no 
one to do that. I can't imagine anybody objecting to that, but they 
have done so.
  There isn't enough time in the world--the Senate world, at least--to 
move cloture on every one of these. We have spent all this week on two 

[[Page S452]]

Today is Thursday. I know we were interrupted yesterday because of the 
retreat, but we have spent all day on Monday, Tuesday, and now Thursday 
on two nominees, one to be the Solicitor at the Department of Labor--
that is the lawyer for the entire Department of Labor--and the one we 
are working on today is to have someone run the General Services 
Administration. The Federal Government is the largest real estate 
holder in the world, and the General Services Administration manages 
that. Yet we have no one to run that.
  So we have had to file cloture. Everyone within the sound of my voice 
understands it takes a long time to do that. We have to lay it down, 
file cloture, 2 days, 30 hours. It is not right, and I hope we can get 
more cooperation.
  I have been someone who has tried hard not to have the President do 
recess appointments, but what alternative do we have? What alternative 
do we have? We have on the calendar dozens of people who are being held 
up--dozens--and I have only picked out a few; these very sensitive 
people, dealing with the safety and security of our country. I think it 
is without explanation why this is happening.

  Again, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate consider the following 
nominations, en bloc, and we proceed to executive session, Calendar No. 
561, GEN Clifford Stanley to be Under Secretary of Defense; Calendar 
No. 603, Laura Kennedy to be U.S. Representative to the Conference on 
Disarmament; Calendar No. 614, Philip Goldberg to be Assistant 
Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research; Calendar No. 615, 
Caryn Wagner to be Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis at the 
Department of Homeland Security; that the nominees be confirmed en 
bloc, the motions to reconsider be laid upon the table en bloc, any 
statements relating to the nominations appearing at the appropriate 
place in the Record as if read, and the President be immediately 
notified of the Senate's action.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Is there objection?
  Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, reserving the right to object, and I 
am going to have to do that, I wish to indicate Senator Shelby has been 
in discussions with the administration over an issue with which I am 
not terribly familiar, and I believe that is the genesis of his 
objection. He is not able to be here at the moment to state his 
position. Maybe in discussions with him, we can make some progress on 
these, sooner rather than later, but for the moment I am constrained to 
object on his behalf.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Objection is heard.
  Mr. REID. Madam President, I understand the objection of the Senator, 
the Republican leader, but I don't know what my friend, Senator 
Shelby--and I say that because he is my friend--I don't know what 
problems he has. Whatever it is, I would almost bet a lot it is nothing 
that would be comparable to holding up these extremely sensitive 
positions keeping our country safe. I think it is outlandish, and I 
can't imagine this is the right thing to do.