Huge Number Of D.C. Agency Vacancies Because Congress Hasn’t Voted On Them
[su_right_ad]The governmental body that takes more vacation than President Obama–that would be Congress–has not acted on scores of nominations that are getting in the way of the government operating. And it’s only going to get worse as the administration winds down and top people head for the exits.
At the Homeland Security Department, Obama has no Senate-confirmed policy chief in place to handle terrorism and cybersecurity threats and the immigration crisis on the southern U.S. border. Obama wants to act on climate change, but the Environmental Protection Agency is missing several of the political leaders needed to shepherd regulations through a demanding process with tight scrutiny from industry, environmentalists, other federal agencies and the White House’s own budget crunchers. And the scandal-plagued Department of Veterans Affairs is hesitant to make some big new policy changes until it gets a fresh batch of political leaders.
More than 220 nominees are still awaiting Senate confirmation to fill vacancies across the administration, and a senior Democratic aide said Majority Leader Harry Reid is planning to force floor votes on a “good number” of them before the November election. Still, the openings are sure to grow as more staffers make their strategically timed exits through D.C.’s revolving door while the cachet of having Obama-related experience still means something on a résumé.
It’s a painful reality check for the president — and one that would only grow worse if Republicans win control of the Senate. Back in early 2009, he had the cream of the Democratic crop gunning to work for him. Now, as Obama relies more on federal agencies to bypass Congress and help secure his legacy, he’ll be lucky if his second, third or even fourth stringers are on the clock.[su_csky_ad]