Posts Tagged: General Services Administration

FAA Cleared for Takeoff

The U.S. Senate is expected to approve a bill this morning written by the House that will resume operations at the Federal Aviation Administration — at least until Sep. 16, reports the New York Times’ Edward Wyatt. At issue in the FAA’s shutdown is a Congressional dispute over whether the agency should give subsidies so rural airports get commercial airline service. The broader issue is Congress’s astonishing indifference about a functioning federal agency. (more…)

GSA announces first “Chief Greening Officer”

Poaching from the private sector, the General Services Administration has named its first “Chief Greening Officer” to aggressively pursue “innovative sustainable practices within GSA’s large portfolio of government-owned and leased buildings.” Eleni Reed has moved over from real estate giant Cushman and Wakefield to lead the GSA in “greening” the nearly ten thousand government-owned or -leased buildings in its portfolio.

It’s a positive step, and a move toward (more…)

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.