The Senate adjourned on December 22nd. With that adjournment, the nomination of Andrew Traver to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives fell by the wayside. The Senate neither voted to confirm nor deny his appointment so if Obama still wants Traver as Director of ATF he will need to resubmit his name to the Senate.
Nominations Returned to the President
Nominations that are not confirmed or rejected are returned to the President at the end of a session or when the Senate adjourns or recesses for more than 30 days (Senate Rule XXXI, paragraph 6). If the President still wants a nominee considered, he must submit a new nomination to the Senate. The Senate can, however, waive this rule by unanimous consent, and it often does to allow nominations to remain “in status quo” between the first and second sessions of a Congress. The majority leader or his designee also may exempt specific nominees by name from the unanimous consent agreement, allowing them to be returned during the recess or adjournment.
Checking the Congressional Record (page S11071) for December 22nd, Andrew Traver’s nomination was specifically mentioned as being returned to the President. Along with him were a number of other nominations including many judicial nominations.
The website, Main Justice, first reported on this yesterday, noting that Traver had faced “strong opposition from the National Rifle Association.” David Codrea notes that we are not out of the woods yet in his Gun Rights Examiner column.
Gun owners dodged a bullet—but only one. Without individual senators, including nominally “pro-gun” Democrats, taking a stand and publicly opposing Traver, and without them pledging further opposition and consequences if Obama attempts a recess appointment end run, we’re not out of the woods yet.
Joe Huffman at the View from North Central Idaho offered this wry assessment of the situation.
I think this means we will have a more gun friendly Senate to review Traver’s background with the
Two questions remain regarding Andrew Traver. First, will Obama renominate him now that Rahm Emanuel is no longer Chief of Staff? As reported earlier, Emanuel was the person in the Obama White House who was pushing Traver. Without Rahm as his champion, is the controversy over Traver worth it to Obama?
The second question is whether Obama is so committed to sticking it to us “bitter clingers” that he will make Traver a recess appointment. He has until 11:59am on January 5, 2011 to make that decision. My gut reaction is that he punts and there won’t be a recess appointment. The Brady Bunch and their ilk are just not worth the bad will that would ensue.