Date registered: Aug 2002
Vehicle: 2021 SL770
Location: Fountain Hills, AZ
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Quoted: 542 Post(s)
Bush names Fox to Belgium post despite criticism
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush bypassed Democratic critics and appointed Sam Fox ambassador to Belgium on Wednesday during the congressional recess in a move that avoided requiring Senate approval.
The appointment came a week after the White House withdrew the nomination when it became apparent that the Democratic-led Senate Foreign Relations Committee would not vote to approve Fox, a Republican fund-raiser.
Democrats had complained about a $50,000 donation Fox made to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a group that questioned Sen. John Kerry's war record during the Massachusetts Democrat's 2004 presidential campaign.
"It's sad but not surprising that this White House would abuse the power of the presidency to reward a donor over the objections of the Senate," Kerry said in a statement.
"Unfortunately, when this White House can't win the game, they just change the rules, and America loses," he said.
Bush is battling the Democratic-led Congress on several fronts including legislation to fund the Iraq war and questions about the role of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and White House aides in the firing of eight U.S. prosecutors.
The appointment of Fox during the Senate's week-long spring break infuriated Democrats and threw the gauntlet down in yet another arena of discord.
Sen. Chris Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat who chairs the Senate Banking Committee, called the Fox appointment "outrageous," questioned the legality of the move, and said he would seek an opinion from General Accountability Office.
"It is intended to deal with emergencies, not just to avoid the constitutional responsibility for ambassadors to be confirmed by the United States Senate," Dodd told reporters.
Fox's appointment will run through the end of next year, essentially the end of Bush's presidential term.
"Sam Fox is a respected business leader who has tremendous international experience and passion for public service," Emily Lawrimore, a White House spokeswoman, said. "The president made this decision based on Mr. Fox's impressive leadership credentials."
Bush made three other recess appointments, which, like Fox's, now do not need to be confirmed by the Senate.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat, denounced Bush for making Andrew Biggs, a leading proponent of privatizing the Social Security retirement program, deputy commissioner of Social Security.
"Prospects for getting real Social Security reform anytime soon just took a big hit," Baucus said. "This administration is clearly not serious about leaving behind the failed schemes of the past and moving on to constructive discussions about the future of Social Security."
"If spending money you don't have is the height of stupidity, borrowing money to give it away is the height of insanity." -- anon