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

Bush Names Reich, Scalia in Recess Appointments

Friday, 11 January 2002 12:00 AM

Bush notified Congress earlier Friday of his intention to name Scalia to serve as solicitor for the U.S. Department of Labor and Reich as the assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs.

The White House had been frustrated when Congress adjourned for Christmas in late December without confirming the president's choices for the two posts. White House sources have described the situation as troubling for the administration's policy team and left open the possibility that Bush might exercise his authority to appoint the two men while Congress was away.

Reich and Scalia, the son of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, will be able to serve in their posts until Congress adjourns at the end of the year.

Reich, a conservative Cuban-American, served as assistant administrator of the Agency for International Development during the Reagan administration, then as the first director of the State Department's Office of Public Diplomacy for Latin America and the Caribbean. While serving in that post, Reich was accused of overseeing an illegal propaganda movement aimed at toppling Nicaragua's Sandinista regime. He also served as the ambassador to Venezuela.

Even though Bill Clinton also made recess appointments when he was president, congressional Democrats expressed disapproval.

Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., criticized the 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," Dodd said in a news release. "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."

Scalia becomes the Labor Department's top attorney, a move that has raised the ire of the nation's largest (pro-Democrat) labor union. AFL-CIO President John J. Sweeney called Scalia's appointment a "slap in the face of American workers" and one that "by all standard rules should not have happened.

"It has been clear since early fall that Eugene Scalia could not be confirmed by the Senate. The recess appointment today simply underscores the Bush administration's lockstep allegiance to the corporate agenda of blocking needed worker protections," Sweeney said.

Scalia had sharply opposed the costly ergonomic rules enacted by the Clinton administration, dismissing them as "quackery" and "junk science."

Republicans had charged that Senate Democrats were purposely holding up confirmations of Reich and Scalia as political payback for the 2000 presidential election decision.

Scalia served as special assistant to U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr in the early 1990s. He also served as speechwriter to U.S. Education Secretary William J. Bennett from 1985 to 1987.

Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

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Bush notified Congress earlier Friday of his intention to name Scalia to serve as solicitor for the U.S. Department of Labor and Reich as the assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs. The White House had been frustrated when Congress adjourned for...
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2002-00-11
Friday, 11 January 2002 12:00 AM
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