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As Trump Sends More Nominees to Senate, a Backlog Is Starting to Grow

Administration picked up its pace of naming officials in June

President Donald Trump speaks on the phone in the Oval Office, which may or may not be under renovations. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
President Donald Trump speaks on the phone in the Oval Office, which may or may not be under renovations. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)


The White House has picked up its pace of sending nominations to the Senate, though senators have continued to drag their feet on those submissions.

A Roll Call analysis of Library of Congress data and news releases from the White House show Trump sent the chamber 373 nominees for Senate-appointed posts during the month of June, compared to just 489 during the first five months of the year combined.

The counts do not include military service member nominations, which often are sent and approved in bulk.

Most of these nominees continue to be for the Foreign Service, which requires Senate confirmation for certain rank-and-file employees, more than other areas of government. But the June submissions also included more significant — and politically tricky — nominees, such as Christopher Wray for FBI director and Richard Spencer for secretary of the Navy.

The Senate, meanwhile, has continued its pace of approving no more than a handful of nominations each month. Excluding Foreign Service nominees, the Senate has averaged only eight confirmations a month since Trump took office. It approved seven such positions in June, along with 20 Foreign Service positions.

There are presently 442 nominees sent by the White House and waiting for Senate consideration (who haven’t withdrawn their nominations).

As Roll Call reported in May, both the White House and Senate began the Trump administration with a historically low pace of nominating and confirming officials.

Though the White House has named significantly more nominees since then, the president’s team still appears to be thin. Of 564 “key” positions tracked by The Washington Post and the Partnership for Public Service — a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization — the White House has put forward nominees for only 130, and the Senate has confirmed just 46 of them.

The software used to analyze nominations and confirmations for this story is available as open-source code here.

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