FEC Nominees On Hold Until After Memorial Day

The stalemate over the Federal Election Commission may continue for at least a few more weeks as the White House and the Senate could not agree on a way to handle the remaining FEC nominees.

As a result, the Senate will yet again hold very short, pro-forma sessions during next week's recess in order to prevent President Bush from making any recess appointments while the Senate is on its Memorial Day break.

The FEC shutdown looked like it was on its way to being resolved when controversial Republican nominee Hans Von Spakovsky removed his name from consideration earlier this week.

But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), rejected a demand by the White House to clear a long list of other executive branch nominations, saying the FEC standoff had to be settled first. The election watchdog agency has been unable to do major work all year because there are only two working commissioners and four are required to have a quorum at the FEC.

The White House sent a three page list of executive nominations earlier this week, but they did not include all the FEC nominations, and Reid wants an equal number of Democrats and Republicans on the commission so it can act on critical items like public financing for the presidential race.

"We had been working toward a solution ... but he [Reid] is not going to agree to it until the FEC is resolved," said Reid spokesman Jim Manley.