Abby Philip and Josh Gerstein at Politico have an excellent piece up on the state of Executive Branch nominations in the Obama Administration.
It’s crunch time for the White House to get key executive branch jobs filled before the end of President Barack Obama’s first term.
Dozens of top posts in both the executive branch and the judiciary remain vacant, while some of those who started near the beginning of the administration are bailing out.
Nominees who aren’t confirmed by the Senate by the end of this year likely will become tangled in election-year politics, given Republican hopes of taking the White House, the Senate or both. If Obama wants a good shot at getting his nominees through this year, Hill veterans say, names need to reach the Senate by the summer recess.
Adding to the heightened urgency for action: Many of the unfilled posts deal with Obama’s major policy priorities, including financial regulatory reform, immigration and health care. Not coincidentally, those positions also are some of the most likely to become ensnared in partisan disputes.
Go read their full article, it is a good across the board discussion on nominees and where we stand in various areas of interest.
There are two areas of the Politico piece I want to draw attention to. The first is the critical importance of work and support by the White House for their nominees and the nomination process.
But one former official said much of the blame for the slow pace lies with the White House.
“A lot of fingers have been pointed at the Senate,” said Chase Untermeyer, who served as director of presidential personnel for President George H.W. Bush. “I always say that two-thirds of the job is on the executive side.”
Exactly. For one thing, it is hard for an administration to get a confirmation if it does not make nominations. Take federal judges for instance, for most of the past two years there have been around a hundred vacancies on the Circuit and District courts; Mr. Obama has rarely had nominees for more than half of them. This is simply federal administrative incompetence, and it takes a heavy toll Read more