On July 19, the White House sent to the Senate the nomination of Donald Berwick to be the top administrator of Medicare and Medicaid. The move seemed odd, given that President Obama had already nominated Berwick once, and then on July 7 used executive authority to bypass lawmakers and unilaterally appoint Berwick to the post while the Senate was in recess. Whether lawmakers like it or not, Berwick has the job — a powerful position made even more powerful by the passage of Obamacare — until the end of 2011. So why resubmit his nomination to the Senate?
A White House spokesman did not respond to questions. But the renomination allows Obama to claim he wants to work with the Senate to win Berwick’s confirmation, even though the recess appointment makes that superfluous.
It does one other thing: It keeps anger over the Berwick nomination and the recess appointment alive for months to come.