President Bush is putting John Bolton in the job of United Nations ambassador without a Senate confirmation vote. The move came at a time when the Bolton nomination stalled on Capitol Hill.
Under the U.S. Constitution, the president has the right to install nominees without a confirmation vote during a congressional recess.
Shortly after lawmakers left town for their month-long August break, President Bush did just that. He said, because of partisan bickering, John Bolton was denied the vote he deserves.
"As a result, America has now gone more than six months without a permanent ambassador to the United Nations," he said. "This post is too important to leave vacant any longer."
The Bolton nomination proved extremely controversial in the Senate. A favorite of conservatives, he was seen by critics as too brash for the crucial diplomatic post. They alleged that during his tenure as head of the State Department's arms control office, he intimidated subordinates, manipulated information, and voiced disdain for the United Nations.
The White House denied those charges, calling Mr. Bolton a tough talker who speaks his mind.
President Bush said that is just what is needed at the United Nations.
"His mission is now to help the United Nations reform itself and renew its founding promises for the 21st century," he said. "He will speak for me on crucial issues facing the international community and he will make it clear that America values the potential of the United Nations to be a source of hope and dignity and peace."
The president said with a new General Assembly session scheduled to begin next month, he could wait no longer for the Senate to act.
Under the terms of a recess appointment, John Bolton will assume the post of ambassador immediately, and will remain in place until a new Congress is elected in November 2006 and takes office in January 2007.
Standing alongside the president, Mr. Bolton said he will work tirelessly to carry out the Bush administration's agenda at the United Nations.
"We seek a stronger, more effective organization, true to the ideals of its founders and agile enough to act in the 21st century," he said.
Democrats knew a recess appointment was likely, and called it into question even before the announcement was made.
Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd is a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which was handling the Bolton nomination. He spoke on the Fox News Sunday television program.
"He is damaged goods," he said. "This is a person who lacks credibility. This will be the first U.N. ambassador since 1948 we have ever sent there under a recess appointment. That is not what you want to send up, a person who does not have the confidence of the congress and so many people who have urged he not be sent up to do that job."
Presidents rarely use the power to make a recess appointment for high-profile nominees. Democrats had urged Mr. Bush to name a new nominee, warning of a negative impact if he bypassed the Senate. But top Republicans have said the Bolton appointment will have no negative effect on Congress.