Bush Appointees Wait in Line For Nods from Senate Panel
On Friday, the Senate Banking Committee voted on four presidential appointees, including William Taylor, who is to head the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
But that still leaves the panel with a full plate of nominations -- 13 other people are standing in line for the panel's imprimatur. And another person is experiencing delays in getting a floor vote.
Among those waiting is Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, who was nominated for a second term on July 19. Committee Chairman Donald W. Riegle, D-Mich., is expected to use Mr. Greenspan's confirmation hearing as a forum to examine the lingering recession.
"He is the chairman of the Fed, and we are in a recession," said a committee spokeswoman. "As the senator from Michigan, where unemployment is 9.1%, he would have to be concerned."
Mr. Greenspan is serving now as a "recess appointee," reappointed during a congressional break and entitled to remain in office until the end the next congressional session if the Senate does not act before then.
Comptroller of the Currency Robert L. Clarke has been waiting longest -- since January.
Lawrence B. Lindsay, the White House choice for a vacant seat on the Federal Reserve Board, cleared the Senate Banking Committee after seven months but is still waiting for a floor vote.
Most presidential nominations are acted on in a matter of months or sooner. For example, Mr. Taylor's name went to the Senate on Sept. 11, and the popular Fed official was quickly scheduled for a Sept. 24 hearing. He could be in office this week.
Clarke in Limbo
Mr. Clarke, in contrast, waited nearly eight months just for a hearing. A second was held and a third is likely, with no vote in sight.
Nominees for the Federal Housing Finance Board, an agency created in the 1989 thrift-bailout law to oversee the 12 Home Loan banks, are controversial for different reasons.
The four were nominated on Feb. 7 to serve part time, but Mr. Riegle believes the posts require full-time officials. As a result, Mr. Riegle has shown no inclination to call up the nominees for a hearing. They are serving now as recess appointees and must step down when Congress adjourns for the year.