Posts Tagged: Danielle German

Will Bureaucrats Rebel Against the U.S. Senate?

Kit Bond

Kit Bond

This is not the worst example of the U.S. Senate v. good government during the Obama administration, but it typifies the situation: The Washington Post’s Ed O’Keefe blogs that Danielle German, the chief of staff at the General Services Administration — a/k/a the “government’s landlord” for its property management — has quit in frustration. Why? Because the U.S. Senate has still not confirmed Martha Johnson, Barack Obama’s nomination way back in May to head GSA. Johnson is still not confirmed, because — you know it -Missouri Sen. Kit Bond has a hold on Johnson. Johnson’s hold is on behalf of the noble national interest of getting more information about new a federal building in Kansas City.

Joseph Lieberman famously made the health care reform bill worse in an attention-seeking fit. But the whimsy of Lieberman’s health care demands was not the actions of one egomaniac. It’s standard-issue behavior in the upper chamber. Kit Bond can hold up a multi-billion dollar agency with thousands of employees, because he wants assurances about, essentially, an earmark to Missouri. South Carolina’s Jim DeMint can stifle airport security, a kind of big deal these days, because he wants to needle unions. Wyoming’s Mike Enzi can prevent the Labor Dept. from enforcing its most basic minimum wage and overtime laws, because…well, it’s not clear why Enzi is doing this.

What’s frustrating is how little Senators called on the carpet for this, either by their colleagues or Obama administration officials. In the case of these holds, comity seems to take precedence over governance. Perhaps, though, we’ve found a way to dramatize the problem — other top-level bureaucrats who will join German and quit in protest.