President Obama appointed Dr. Donald M. Berwick to run Medicare and Medicaid via a recess appointment knowing full well that the Republicans would have held up the appointment and filibustered him to death because that’s what they do.
Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director, said the “recess appointment” was needed to carry out the new health care law. The law calls for huge changes in the two programs, which together insure nearly one-third of all Americans.
Mr. Pfeiffer said the president would appoint Dr. Berwick on Wednesday. Mr. Obama decided to act because “many Republicans in Congress have made it clear in recent weeks that they were going to stall the nomination as long as they could, solely to score political points,” Mr. Pfeiffer said.
As a recess appointee, Dr. Berwick will have all the powers of a permanent appointee. But under the Constitution, his appointment will expire at the end of the next session of Congress, in late 2011.
Cue the right-wing freakout, including Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) calling it “truly outrageous.” How dare the president deny Mr. McConnell all that face time on TV? How dare the president use a power that is granted him by the Constitution? Doesn’t he know that using recess appointments is a privilege only granted to Republicans? After all, President Bush did it 171 times, including John Bolton as UN ambassador.
It’s like these people have completely wiped their memory of anything that happened before January 20, 2009.