Skip to main content

Process for Confirming Senior Administration Officials is Broken

Tevi Troy

The Obama administration’s premature recess appointment of Dr. Donald Berwick to head CMS is further evidence that the process for selecting and confirming senior administration appointees is broken. In trying to defend the move, White House adviser David Axelrod said on ABC’s “This Week” that the CMS job is “too important” to wait for Dr. Berwick to have his hearing.

Axelrod is right that the position of CMS administrator is an extremely important job, but if the White House truly believed that were the case, then President Obama should have nominated Dr. Berwick towards the beginning of the administration, and not waited until after the health care bill passed to send his name forward. Furthermore, it is precisely because the position is so important that we need to have a confirmed head at the top of this crucial $500 billion agency. Not being confirmed can limit the effectiveness of top appointees by harming their credibility with agency career staff, and with Congress.

Our confirmation process clearly needs to be improved, but circumventing the process, as the Obama administration did in this case, does not make the situation any better.

Related Articles

Countering the Domestic Ebola Threat

Scott Gottlieb & Tevi Troy

Until recently, the bulk of the Obama administration’s efforts in the fight against Ebola have been on the international front. The emergence of a s...

Continue Reading

Hospital Erred With Ebola Patient

Tevi Troy

The first Ebola patient in the United States died because the hospital he went to initially released him when he should have been admitted, says forme...

Watch Now

Former HHS Deputy Secretary: Ebola is Definitely Mutating

Tevi Troy

Former HHS Deputy Secretary Dr. Tevi Troy on the conflicting government procedures for dealing with the Ebola virus....

Watch Now