Jan 24, 2013

Astrue Still On The Job -- Who Replaces Him?

        Michael Astrue is still Commissioner of Social Security. His term ran out on January 19 but the Social Security Act says he can stay in his job until a successor is confirmed. He hasn't resigned so he's still Commissioner. The same is true for Deputy Commissioner Carolyn Colvin. The rumor had been that Astrue did not intend to stay on after his term ended.  So far, he's proving that rumor wrong. Astrue does seem to be clearing items off his desk. Take a look at what he just sent over to the Office of Management and Budget. I wonder if he's planning to send over his version of new mental impairment listings before leaving.
     As to what the President may do, there was a flurry of articles a couple of weeks ago about candidates who might be nominated for the position of Social Security Commissioner. There has been nothing publicly available on the subject since. What does the delay mean? It may be that the background checks on those seeking the nomination are incomplete. It could be the President has had more pressing business before him and has not yet made up his mind. However, the President has not been too busy to come up with nominations for the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
     One possibility that comes to mind is that there will never be an announcement of an Obama nominee for Commissioner of Social Security. Astrue will leave the job in the near future and Carolyn Colvin will become the Acting Commissioner for the rest of Obama's term as President. Colvin as Acting Commissioner, unlike Astrue and unlike a nominated and confirmed Commissioner of Social Security, would be serving at the President's will. If Colvin displeased the President, she could be removed from the job by Obama nominating and the Senate confirming a Commissioner. I think it is more than possible that the President has had his fill of an independent Social Security Commissioner and wants someone who is truly on his team. I have no inside information. This is just my speculation. Of course, this can't happen if Astrue keeps hanging around.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nancy Altman.