Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell probably won’t find himself on any highlight reels, but he scored a buzzer-beater of confirmations in the final hours of the 115th Congress.
According to a report from the Washington Examiner, McConnell confirmed 77 nominees previously stuck in the legislative body.
From the report:
In total, the Senate cleared 77 nominees by voice vote, among them 23 ambassadors to countries including Australia, Armenia, Yemen, Guyana, Kenya, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Senate confirmed eight U.S. attorneys and eight U.S. marshals, a member of the Federal Maritime Commission, and two members of the Federal Communications Commission.
The Senate confirmed James Carroll Jr. to be director of National Drug Control Policy. It also confirmed Ellen McCarthy to serve as assistant secretary of state.
And it confirmed Kelvin Droegemeier to serve as the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
“The Senate has reached an agreement to confirm more of the Administration’s well-qualified nominees,” McConnell wrote in a social media post. “I’m glad these newly-confirmed nominees will be able to get to work on important business for the American people.”
According to the Washington Examiner, McConnell was hopeful to have more than a dozen federal judges passed before the end of the 115th session of Congress but was unable to score a deal with Schumer. Despite not clearing those nominees, as NPR reports, the Senate helped Trump continue his historic streak of appointing judges across 2018:
The Trump administration more than doubled the number of judges it confirmed to federal appeals courts in 2018, exceeding the pace of the last five presidents and stocking the courts with lifetime appointees who could have profound consequences for civil rights, the environment and government regulations.
To conservatives, the Trump approach to judges represents the administration’s most enduring legacy and a central reason he won the White House. Many of the Trump nominees are members of the Federalist Society, an elite group that has made a point of creating a pipeline of future judges.
The trend on judges is likely to continue this year, since Republicans hold 53 seats in the Senate. McConnell often points to confirming judges as a key success of the GOP-controlled Senate since Trump was elected. It’s a message that may have boosted the enthusiasm of conservative voters in the midterm elections, particularly with the heated confirmation battle over Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh coming just weeks earlier.