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Senate deal will end GOP hold on Obama appointments

By Lisa Mascaro, Tribune Washington Bureau –

WASHINGTON — In a rare sign of bipartisan cooperation, the Senate approved dozens of President Barack Obama’s nominees as leaders sought to temper the brinkmanship that had developed after the president made a recess appointment earlier this year over GOP objections.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and the Republican leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, reached an agreement with the White House that allowed dozens of nominees to clear the Senate on the promise that Obama would not attempt more recess appointments as lawmakers prepare to leave for a two-week spring recess.

“This is the way we ought to be conducting business here,” McConnell said.

“I agree,” said Reid.

A stalemate had arisen after Obama in January appointed Richard Cordray, the head of the new consumer protection bureau, over GOP objections. Republicans threatened to hold up other nominees, including those to the federal judiciary.

Because of the agreement, nominees were approved across the federal government including for positions at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Federal Trade Commission, and the State and Treasury departments.

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