We Can Stop Another CMS Administrator (Berwick) Recess Appointment Responsible Health Reform

We Can Stop Another CMS Administrator (Berwick) Recess Appointment  Responsible Health Reform

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We Can Stop Another CMS Administrator (Berwick) Recess Appointment

Posted on April 20, 2011 by admin Leave a comment

“The decision is not whether or not we will ration care. The decision will be whether we ration care with our eyes open.”

Quote by: Donald Berwick, M.D. (recess appointee in July 2010 as Administer of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) by President Obama) http://goo.gl/s8E73

The power to make recess appointments is granted to the United States President by Article II, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution

The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions, which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

The President may appoint the person to a position for any length of time whenever Congress is not in session.  The appointed person assumes his or her appointed position without the approval of the Senate.

The Constitution does not specify a minimum length of time the Senate must be in recess before the President can enact a recess appointment.

Theoretically, the Senate must approve the appointee by the end of the next session of Congress or when the position becomes vacant again.  But as with Barack Obama’s recess appointment of Donald Berwick, M.D., the President can withdraw the appointee from confirmation consideration.  Then, as with Berwick, the appointee continues in the position (causing havoc to the Medicare and US healthcare system generally) while the President, Congress, Berwick and even Berwick’s family know that he could never be confirmed.

The intent of the Founding Fathers in Article II, Section 3 was to grant the President the power to fill vacancies that actually occurred during a Senate recess.  And that is precisely where we should return.

Both “Republican” and “Democrat” Presidents have ignored the Founding Fathers intent and replaced the original intent with a liberal interpretation, using the clause as a means of bypassing Senate opposition to controversial nominees. Presidents expect that opposition to their recess nominees will lessen by the end of the next congressional session.

Has that worked with President Barack Obama’s recess appointment of Donald Berwick, M.D. as Administer of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)?  Nope.  The Berwick appointment is seen for precisely what it is – a “subterfuge.” That is why Berwick’s final confirmation is so unlikely that Obama will not pursue it.

What other Presidents have used or abused the recess appointment privilege?

President George W. Bush placed several judges on United States courts of appeals via recess appointments when Senate Democrats filibustered their confirmation proceedings.

Judge Charles Pickering, appointed to the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, withdrew his name from consideration for re-nomination when his recess appointment expired.

President Bush appointed Judge William H. Pryor, Jr. to the bench of the Eleventh Circuit Court during a recess, after the Senate repeatedly failed to vote on Pryor’s nomination.

President Bill Clinton appointed Bill Lan Lee as assistant attorney general for civil rights. That recess appointment became controversial when it became clear that Lee’s strong support of affirmative action would lead to Senate opposition.

President John F. Kennedy appointed Thurgood Marshall to the U.S. Supreme Court during a Senate recess after Southern senators threatened to block his nomination. The full Senate later confirmed Justice Marshall after the end of his “replacement” term.

President Theodore Roosevelt took liberal advantage of the recess appointment privilege.  Roosevelt made several recess appointments during successive one-day Senate recesses.

Now the big question – what are we as a country going to do about a new Administrator of CMS?

Are we going to allow President Obama to ignore the intent of our Founding Fathers again and bypass the Senators that were sent to Washington, D.C. to represent the people?  That is precisely what Obama did with Berwick and the results have been horrific.  Berwick envies the U.K.’s healthcare system, universal healthcare single payer system and rationing of medical care.

We must demand that our Senators stop President Obama from abusing the recess appointment privilege.  The role of CMS Administrator is too important as our country is in the process of redesigning the medical care system.  It is not the time for “politics as usual.”  I don’t care how many other Presidents have interpreted the privilege “liberally,” the practice of using the office of POTUS to further personal agendas must stop now.

Have you got your Senator on speed dial yet?  Make sure he or she is ready to return to D.C. at a moment’s notice to stop a CMS Administrator recess appointment.

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