Paul Light on the unofficial Cabinet


NYU professor Paul Light has a good op-ed in today’s New York Times on the interminable Senate confirmation process and how that leads to the growth of unconfirmed “czar” positions:

The Senate has done virtually nothing, for example, to address the glacial pace of confirmations that often leads presidents to expand the White House staff as well as the number of appointees who serve without Senate approval. Although he has submitted the names of nominees to the Senate relatively quickly, President Obama will be lucky if the last of his nearly 500 full-time cabinet and subcabinet officers are confirmed by March 2010.

Obviously the president has made some mistakes with his Cabinet picks. The endless parade of nominees with tax problems — Tim Geithner, Tom Daschle, Nancy Killefer, Hilda Solis — has not exactly inspired confidence in the vetting process or the integrity of the people being tapped for public service.

But, tax troubles and all, Obama still has 55 nominees pending before the Senate; legislators have confirmed just 43 people in the more than two months of Obama’s presidency.

Congress has a lot on its plate. But you would think confirming Obama’s appointees would be a higher priority.


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