Tags: Bush | Gives | Reich | Scalia | Recess | Appointments

Bush Gives Reich, Scalia Recess Appointments

Saturday, 12 January 2002 12:00 AM

Both were controversial choices. The Senate refused to hold confirmation hearings on Reich's appointment while Scalia's just barely made it through a Senate committee. Many liberal Democrats like Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., opposed Reich's confirmation.

Both will serve for one year. The U.S. Constitution gives the president the power during Senate recesses to install nominees, without Senate approval, until the end of the next session of Congress.

Secretary of State Colin Powell called Reich on Friday afternoon to offer his congratulations.

Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., applauded Reich's confirmation and slammed Dodd.

"Ambassador Reich has been subjected to a barrage of slanderous accusations. Although one senator refused to allow Ambassador Reich to defend himself before the Senate, none of the accusations held up under scrutiny and the president's commitment never wavered," said Diaz-Balart in a statement.

Reich, a hard line anti-Communist, has irritated Democrats, especially Dodd by making statements in support of the Nicaraguan Contras and against the Sandinistas. In a recent letter to the Wall Street Journal, Dodd said Reich "is not qualified" to be an assistant secretary of state.

Dodd said Friday he was disappointed about Bush's decision to appoint Reich.

"I regret the administration has made this decision. The appointee becomes a lame duck as soon as he takes the position and can only serve until the end of this Congress. There are many difficulties in the region and it is unfortunate that U.S. foreign policy in the region is being sacrificed for a narrow domestic political agenda," said Dodd in a statement from his Capitol Hill office.

Reich's appointment has irked the Castro government in Cuba as well. "Unbelievable" is the way one top Cuban government official characterized Reich's nomination.

Reich has previously served as the assistant administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development and as a special advisor to former Reagan Secretary of State George Shultz, during which time he established and managed the interagency Office of Public Diplomacy for Latin America and the Caribbean.

From 1986 to 1989, Reich was the U.S. ambassador to Venezuela and received the State Department's Exemplary Service Award and Superior Honor Award. He is currently the president of RMA International, Inc.

Scalia is a private practice labor lawyer and the son of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. The elder Scalia was part of a high court majority that ended the Florida presidential recount in 2000 that effectively handed Bush the presidency. Republicans accused Democrats of holding up the younger Scalia's nomination to punish his father.

Paul Weyrich, president of the Free Congress Foundation, praised both nominees.

"The president deserves praise for not buckling to a recalcitrant Congress. If President Bush is to be able to do his job, he needs people in key positions. The Democrats have denied qualified nominees like Mr. Scalia and Mr. Reich the consideration they merit for important posts," said Weyrich.

Weyrich added, "I admire the president's courage and it would be good to see similar actions when the Senate tries standing in the way of progress."

Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement: "The President has needed Otto's services for months but, sad to say, the nomination has been blocked for months by senators who had a right but no reason to block it."

He said the president was "well within his rights in exercising the recess appointment process."

"Had Otto Reich been allowed a hearing by even two or three Foreign Relations Committee senators, his nomination would have been promptly and long ago approved by the Senate," Helms added.

"Otto Reich has well served America with his wealth of experience; now he will again serve his country well in America's backyard ---- a crucial region which has experienced more than its share of terrorism," he concluded.

Reprinted with permission of

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Both were controversial choices. The Senate refused to hold confirmation hearings on Reich's appointment while Scalia's just barely made it through a Senate committee. Many liberal Democrats like Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., opposed Reich's confirmation. Both will serve...
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2002-00-12
Saturday, 12 January 2002 12:00 AM
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