The Andrew Saul confirmation hearing has ended. There was no obvious opposition nor even any difficult questions. Saul promised to stay out of issues like privatizing Social Security. He couldn't be confirmed otherwise. Saul tried to downplay his association with the Manhattan Institute that has called for privatizing Social Security.
One thing that concerns me is that Saul seemed to believe that his management abilities might improve backlogs at Social Security. It's understandable that he might think that. Usually, new Social Security Commissioners think the same thing. However, those backlogs, can't be managed away. They're caused by lack of operating budget. Believing that backlogs can be managed away got previous Commissioners in trouble. They came up with schemes that they thought would work wonders but which only made the problems worse. I may have to dig up some old posts describing what happened before but I think those who have been around a while know implicitly that the backlogs can't be managed away.
In his opening remarks, the chairman of the Committee, Senator Hatch spoke about why only the nomination for the term ending January 19, 2019 was being considered. He said it was to avoid setting a precedent about confirming someone for a term that only begins in another Congress. The ranking member, Senator Wyden, however, promised that the Saul nomination for a full term would be taken up in the next Congress. I have no idea why he would make such a promise. I hope he got something in return. However, if Wyden is Chairman of the Committee next year, the nomination could still be derailed in other ways. At least I hope it would be. I don't see why Democrats would want Saul in that position until January 2025.