Harry Reid Changes Tune on Recess Appointments
Urges Obama to skirt GOP holds
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 8, 2010 7:40 AM CST
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid listens as President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session Congress Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2010, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Tim Sloan, Pool)

(Newser) – Harry Reid thinks its time for Barack Obama to make some recess appointments, a procedural move the majority leader vehemently opposed when George Bush was in power. “What alternative do we have?” Reid said last week, exasperated over Richard Shelby’s move to place a hold on all of Obama’s outstanding nominees. One senior Democratic aide called that a “perversion of senatorial courtesy” that “makes recess appointments fair game.”

The recess appointments could come as soon as Feb. 15, and could include some controversial figures, but Democrats think Shelby’s obstructionist move puts Obama on strong political footing to make the move. Republicans counter that Reid once put a blanket hold on Bush’s nominees. Reid protests that his hold was justified because he was seeking to ensure a Democrat was appointed to the bipartisan Nuclear Regulatory Commission, while Shelby’s merely seeking contracts for his state.