Washington President Bush is expected to sidestep Congress and appoint John Bolton, his controversial choice for United Nations ambassador, to the job temporarily because opponents have blocked his confirmation by the Senate, several lawmakers and influential conservatives said Thursday.
Bush is poised to make the hawkish, tough-talking Bolton a recess appointment under a constitutional provision that allows the president to fill a vacancy during a Senate recess. Congress is expected to adjourn for August vacation Saturday or Sunday.
Administration officials wouldn't discuss Bush's intentions Thursday, but several senators and conservatives close to the White House think the president will tap Bolton shortly after Congress goes home.
Once Bush acts, Bolton can serve as ambassador until January 2007, when a new Congress is sworn in.
"I would anticipate an interim appointment," said Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., one of Bolton's main supporters on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "We have a conference on U.N. reform in September. The president is going to be speaking at that conference. We're going to need an ambassador. We're going to need John Bolton there."
Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., also thinks Bush will make Bolton his interim appointment, but he doesn't think it's a good idea.
"I suspect he will, but I do think it's a little bit of a thumbing of the nose at the Senate, which will cause you more problems down the road," Lott said. "We are a co-equal branch; he doesn't get to make his choices in a vacuum."