December 6, 2016

Deference for the President's Nominees

  • When President Obama took office, Senate Republicans mostly deferred to his cabinet selections – confirming seven cabinet nominees on President Obama’s first day.
  • Many of his other cabinet nominees were confirmed shortly after their nominations were received by the Senate.
  • Democrats should show the same courtesy to President-elect Trump’s nominees.

President-elect Trump has made rapid progress in filling his cabinet. He is expected to send most or all of his nominations to the Senate on inauguration day. In 2009, President Obama was in the same situation, with the Senate controlled by his party. While Senate rules at the time allowed members to force extended debate on each nominee, Republicans mostly deferred to the president on his picks. The Senate confirmed seven cabinet nominees on President Obama’s first day.

Obama Nominees Confirmed on Day One


Below is a list of selections made by the president-elect and the corresponding time it took the Senate to confirm President Obama’s nominees.

Time Taken to Confirm Obama Nominees

time taken

For the secretary of health and human services, President Obama withdrew his initial nomination of Tom Daschle on February 9, 2009. The nomination of Kathleen Sebelius to be secretary of health and human services was received by the Senate on March 17, 2009, and the Senate confirmed her on April 28. President-elect Trump intends to nominate Tom Price for this position.

For the secretary of defense, President Obama held over Robert Gates from the Bush administration; a nomination and confirmation were not needed. President-elect Trump plans to nominate James Mattis for this position.

Issue Tag: Senate