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The Hill Appointment Stalls UPDATE: VOTE TOMORROW?

4:13 PM, Apr 2, 2009 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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Contrary to what you might have read in other publications, Chris Hill's appointment as Ambassador to Iraq remains stalled by Senator Sam Brownback, as it has been from the outset. Leadership is expected to bring the nomination to the floor today, but Brownback will object as Republicans continue behind the scenes efforts to build opposition to the pick. The only thing that is certain is that the Hill nomination is going nowhere before the Congress adjourns for their Easter recess.

The Obama administration could offer Hill a recess appointment, and perhaps they would if they felt his services were urgently needed in Iraq, but doing so would undermine Hill's credibility -- and would be a serious blow to his vanity. A recess appointment is extremely unlikely.

After the recess, leadership will once again bring Hill's appointment to the floor for a vote and sources familiar with the issue believe that barring any new revelations, he is likely to secure the Senate's consent by a comfortable margin. Still, Brownback has slowed things down and given staffers time to pore over documents and reporters time to get to the bottom of the questions and inconsistencies that have already emerged.

UPDATE (11:07 pm):: Another source now says that Reid may yet force a cloture vote tomorrow. If so, Hill's likely to sail through with as many as 80 votes. Either way, right now it's very likely that Hill will be confirmed. It's just a matter of when.

UPDATE II (11:49 pm): The Senate just passed the budget, which should give Reid the time he needs to force a cloture vote tomorrow if he's so inclined.