Reid, McConnell Form Bipartisan Nominations Group

Posted January 5, 2011 at 2:49pm

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) agreed to set up a bipartisan working group to look at improving the Senate’s pace of confirming nominations.

Democratic Policy and Communications Center Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.) and Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) will head the working group, with Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) also participating.

Reid and McConnell are still working out the framework, but they discussed the concept during a colloquy on the floor.

In the colloquy, Reid said the working group could consider ways to improve and streamline the process and perhaps eliminate the need for Senate confirmation for some lower-level nominees.

McConnell noted that the Senate now has to confirm thousands of nominations instead of the hundreds that were confirmed during President John F. Kennedy’s term in office.

The bipartisan group comes as the parties joust over possible changes to filibuster rules and amid a push for faster confirmations of federal judges by Chief Justice John Roberts.