Nov 21, 2013

Will President Nominate New Commissioner Now That Filibuster Is Off The Table?

     The Senate has voted to end filibusters on executive branch nominations.
     The Social Security Administration has had an Acting Commissioner since February of this year. So far there has been no nomination to the position.
     The Senate's action has to make it more likely that the President will nominate a new Commissioner and that the Senate will act promptly on that nomination. For that matter, it is also more likely that the President will nominate a new Deputy Commissioner for Social Security.
     The Senate confirmation process had degenerated to the point that all of the President's nominations were being delayed for months and large numbers of them were being filibustered. Often, the filibusters had nothing to do with the qualifications of the nominee. The President was forced to be obsessive about the qualifications of nominees.
     I cannot say whether a nominee can be expected in the near future but I hope so. It is certainly less difficult for the President to make a nomination now and to expect that nominee to be confirmed within a reasonable time.
     I have wondered whether the delay at Social Security had to do with same sex marriage. There is a very big question about whether Social Security will recognize same sex marriages for claimants who live in states that refuse to recognize same sex marriages. Today's action in the Senate would prevent Republicans from filibustering a nomination over this or any other issue. Majority rule will prevail. What a concept!


Anonymous said...

If "majority rule" is so great, why did the democrats not go all the way. As I understand it, the current rule does not apply to legislation or Supreme Court Nominations.

This is a big change but I am not sure it is a good change. It does put more power in the hands of moderate democratic senators who will now be in the position to bargain with the President.

I believe that SENATOR Obama was a defender of the filibuster but President Obama approves of this change.

Anonymous said...

I doubt anything will change with SSA. Colvin is the person Obama wants in the position and her power/authority is just the same whether or not the word "acting" is in her title.

Any nominee will face uncomfortable questions -- Huntington, Puerto Rico, etc. Why would Obama want to make dsyfunction at SSA more public than it already is.

Anonymous said...

For years, Reid had been anti-nuclear option--as recently as less than a year ago--and he was particularly loud in his opposition back in '05 when Frist was considering it. Of course, McConnell was fine with Frist pulling that trigger back then, though he isn't now. All of this is predictable, and I'm sure Reid will "reconsider his position" when the Dems are in the minority again, and (assuming he gets re-elected, which is likely) I'm sure McConnell will be more than happy to give Reid a taste of his own medicine, and then some.

Bottom line, I don't see how Reid's move is a big picture plus for anyone--the Senate, SSA, anyone. Initial "victories" will feel worthwhile, but eventually, the majority party always changes, and that's when things will probably hit the fan, not because it would be Republicans in charge, but because both parties pursue "wins" over reasonable compromise and progress.

Concerning Colvin, I wouldn't mind have a stronger, more visible leader at the top, but I doubt that's what Obama's after at the moment, particularly in light of the unflattering SSA coverage of the past couple years (as noted by the 9:16 commenter). Not sure about the deputy level, though. Sklar seems to have a good head on his shoulders, but he's also very data-driven, which may or may not go along with the agency's alleged "new metrics" for performance. (The new metrics, of course, change nothing--just window dressing, a feel-good means of hiding the numbers but expecting the same output. But I digress...)