President Barack Obama is eagerly awaiting Senate confirmation for several Cabinet nominees, including Chuck Hagel as defense secretary, Jack Lew as secretary of the treasury and John Kerry, who was approved Tuesday by a panel as the next secretary of state, with the full Senate to vote soon. The Senate confirmation process, however, often has become politicized.
Under the U.S. Constitution, the Senate has the power to advise and consent on nominations put before it by the president, including Cabinet nominees.
In recent years, both parties have seen confirmation battles as fair game, said analyst John Fortier of the Bipartisan Policy Center.
“Before it was often thought that you would give the president the choice as long as it was within a certain range of acceptableness. Today, many, many people from the opposition party oppose a lot of nominations,” said Fortier.