Beltway Insider: Obama Challenged on Recess Appointments; January Job Numbers; Kerry Sworn In; White Nominated

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President Obama received a stunning upset recently when the federal appeals court ruled that National Labor Relations Board appointments he made over a year ago during the recess were deemed unconstitutional.

The ruling, if it stands, could have far reaching effects and could possibly eliminate recess break appointment totally. Recess appointments are routinely made while the Senate is out on break in order to circumvent the system.

According to Gallup, President Obama’s job approval, over the past week, again rose three percentage points, to 54% of those polled approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness as President stayed steady at 42%.

John Kerry Confirmed as Secretary of State

John F. Kerry, former Massachusetts Senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was confirmed this week as Secretary of State replacing the outgoing Hillary Clinton.

Clinton, who had served as Secretary of State throughout President Obama’s first term officially resigned Friday passing the mantle to Kerry who was sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan.

Kerry, a once Presidential candidate, moved immediately into his new duties by indicating his first order of business will be to visit Israel and Egypt and indicated that trip could come as early as the end of this month.

January Job Numbers

January Job numbers were released this week and for the fifth straight month the numbers were barely below the critical 8.0% where they stayed throughout much of President Obama’s first term.

Adding 157,000 jobs in January the Unemployment Rate remained steady at 7.9% with retail, construction, health care and wholesale trades adding the majority of the jobs over the past month.

The total amount of Americans who remain unemployed ticked up a tenth of a percentage to 12.3 million. The long term unemployed, those who have remained unemployed for 27 weeks or longer dropped a tenth of a percentage point to 4.7 million accounting for 38.1% of those unemployed although it appears a somewhat marginal gain, it is clearly significant.

Obama Nominates Mary Jo White for SEC Top Spot

President Obama recently nominated Mary Jo White, the former US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, for the top spot at the Security and Exchanges Commission.

When nominating White, President Obama added, “She has an impressive resume.”

White, if she can survive the Senate Confirmation Hearings, will replace Elisse B. Walter, the current Chairperson. A  New Yorker, White has deep Wall Street ties, and has for the last ten years served as Defense Counsel at Debevoise and Plimpton providing services to major Finance firms and other corporate clients.

White was nominated in 1992 by former President Clinton to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District. She led the prosecution on many high profile cases including the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing and former Mob Boss John Gotti.

It would be the first time a former prosecutor has led the SEC and could work to her advantage should she be confirmed.

White House Mobile Apps

The White House is offering new Mobile Apps for I-OS and Android users allowing news and government junkies the ability to catch up on all the latest happenings inside 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. They can be downloaded free from

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