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Martha Johnson

By Matthew Yglesias on February 5, 2010 at 9:14 am

"Martha Johnson"

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With 60 Democrats in the US Senate, the White House was annoyed by minority obstructionism. But with “only” 59 Democrats in the US, the White House no longer has anything better to do than to finally pivot and really confront it. Thus yesterday’s Dan Pfeiffer post offering a case study of pointless obstruction:

Nine months ago, the White House sent the nominee for GSA Administrator, Martha Johnson, to the Senate for its consideration. Today, she was finally given a vote and was overwhelmingly approved by a margin of 94-2. What happened in between was a perfect example of why Americans are so frustrated with Washington.

Martha Johnson is an ideal candidate for Administrator, which is highlighted by the unanimous vote she received in committee. And the only thing that’s changed between now and then is that some in Congress found it to be politically expedient to delay her vote. This isn’t just about one person filling one job – it hampers our ability reform the way government works and save taxpayer dollars by making it more efficient and effective.

What’s worse, Martha Johnson is hardly the first nominee to fall victim to this trend of opposition for opposition’s sake. Nine of the President’s nominees found themselves stuck in this same situation only to be confirmed by 70 or more votes or a voice vote. Several nominees, including two members of the Council of Economic Advisers, had cloture withdrawn and were passed by a voice vote.

The public is always a bit skeptical about the capacity of the government to deliver effective public service. And obstructionist Senators are doing everything possible to feed that skepticism. Finding a way to fight it effectively is critical to the progressive cause.

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