Citing "an unprecedented level of obstruction in the Senate" and "partisan politics stand[ing] in the way of the basic functioning of government," Barack Obama today announced the recess appointment of Alan Bersin, his nominee for Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and fourteen other languishing nominees. The recess appointment option allows presidents to seat their nominess without confirmation while the Congress is out of session. At this point in his administration, according to the White House, George W. Bush had made the same number of recess appointments.
Last Tuesday, Julian Aguilar wrote about the Senate's slowness to approve Bersin as head of CBP, which is a division of the Department of Homeland Security, and the perils of not having a permanent commissioner in place at a time when spillover violence from Mexico is a pressing issue for the country and especially for Texas. Bersin's nomination was first sent to the Senate Finance Committee in September 2009.