OK. The election is over. Barack Obama has been re-elected. So what's next for Social Security? Michael Astrue's term as Commissioner of Social Security will end in mid-January 2013. The most immediate questions are who will replace him and when will that person take office. There's no way yet to know who will be nominated to become the next Commissioner but here is what happened the last two times that Social Security Commissioners were nominated and confirmed:
- Jo Anne Barnhart was nominated to become Commissioner of Social Security on July 17, 2001, about six months after George W. Bush took office. She was confirmed by the Senate on November 2, 2001. Obviously, the new President Bush had a lot on his plate and he did not consider nominating a new Social Security Commissioner to be a high priority.
- Michael Astrue was nominated by President George W. Bush to become Social Security Commissioner on September 15, 2006, about four months before Jo Anne Barnhart's term as Commissioner ended. Astrue was confirmed on February 12, 2007. It helped that by 2006 George W. Bush was in the midst of his second term and not facing a re-election battle. Things could proceed in a more orderly fashion. There was less than a month between the end of Barnhart's term and Astrue assuming office.
Also, the Deputy Commissioner's term is up at the same time as the Commissioner's. It would be nice if both could be nominated at the same time -- and soon -- but I'm not expecting it.