Where’s Lael Braenard?

One name missing from the list of recess appointments that I’ve heard a lot about is Dawn Johnsen. One who’s been less mention is Lael Brainard whose nomination to serve as Undersecretary of Treasury for International Affairs has been pending since the dawn of time. This isn’t necessarily obvious from the title, but the Undersecretary for International is one of the most important subcabinet jobs in the government. For illustrative purposes, note that both Larry Summers and Tim Geithner used to have the gig.

The obstructionism about Brainard is particularly odd since it has no real motive. The pretext is something about past tax filings, but there’s no real allegation that Brainard is corrupt and Brainard isn’t, as far as anyone I’ve talked to knows, particularly liberal for a Democrat. Certainly I’ve never heard a conservative offer any dark intimations that lurking behind apparent-moderate Barack Obama is closet socialist Lael Brainard.

And to make it triply odd, not only is she being held up on pretext of some minor tax business, but her husband was confirmed many months ago as an assistant secretary of state so there very clearly isn’t any kind of principled opposition to members of the Brainard/Campbell household serving at high levels of the US government. This is just Chuck Grassley screwing around because (a) he thinks he can get away with it, (b) Republicans think that if the country suffers the GOP will benefit, and (c) the evidence suggests that he can in fact get away with it.