Stimulus Bill Railroaded through Congress before Obama cabinet ready to spend it

Rick Moran
Of course, the New York Times waits until AFTER the bill passes to point out the obvious; with precious few cabinet people in place and Bush holdovers manning many desks, there's no one in the departments who can authorize spending the $787 billion that the president swore to us we had to pass NOW or else:

President Obama blasted through all sorts of speed records pushing a $787 billion economic plan through Congress, arguing it was too urgent to wait. But even after signing it into law Tuesday, he faces another problem: virtually no one is in place at his cabinet departments to actually spend a lot of the money.

The once efficient Obama transition has ground to a near standstill after tax problems bedeviled several of his nominees, leaving the top echelon of his government largely unassembled. Three cabinet jobs remain unfilled, only 2 of the 15 cabinet departments have deputy secretaries confirmed, and the vast majority of lower-level political jobs remain vacant.

The slowdown seems to stem both from the administration’s sharpening its vetting process after losing several nominees and from Senate committees’ taking more time to consider names that have been sent to Capitol Hill. As a result, the very departments charged with executing one of the largest spending projects in American history are operating largely with career stand-ins without the authority of political appointees.

“The senior executive guys who are filling these chairs are not going to switch these policies,” said Terry Sullivan, an associate professor at the University of North Carolina and the executive director of the White House Transition Project, a scholarly effort that studies presidential staff. “They’re going to carry out the policies of the last guy standing, and the last guy standing was Bush.”

No time to read it. No time to debate it. No time to make it better. No time to question line items. No time, no time, no time.

So the prez takes a Washington's Birthday 4 day holiday, relaxes in Chicago, leisurely flies out to Denver, and tells us what a swell fellow he is for saving us from disaster.

Meanwhile, back in Washington, no one's home.

There are times that we look at the stimulus bill and get angry. There are times we laugh at it. This is one of those times when you almost feel like crying at the rank injustice of it all.





Of course, the New York Times waits until AFTER the bill passes to point out the obvious; with precious few cabinet people in place and Bush holdovers manning many desks, there's no one in the departments who can authorize spending the $787 billion that the president swore to us we had to pass NOW or else:

President Obama blasted through all sorts of speed records pushing a $787 billion economic plan through Congress, arguing it was too urgent to wait. But even after signing it into law Tuesday, he faces another problem: virtually no one is in place at his cabinet departments to actually spend a lot of the money.

The once efficient Obama transition has ground to a near standstill after tax problems bedeviled several of his nominees, leaving the top echelon of his government largely unassembled. Three cabinet jobs remain unfilled, only 2 of the 15 cabinet departments have deputy secretaries confirmed, and the vast majority of lower-level political jobs remain vacant.

The slowdown seems to stem both from the administration’s sharpening its vetting process after losing several nominees and from Senate committees’ taking more time to consider names that have been sent to Capitol Hill. As a result, the very departments charged with executing one of the largest spending projects in American history are operating largely with career stand-ins without the authority of political appointees.

“The senior executive guys who are filling these chairs are not going to switch these policies,” said Terry Sullivan, an associate professor at the University of North Carolina and the executive director of the White House Transition Project, a scholarly effort that studies presidential staff. “They’re going to carry out the policies of the last guy standing, and the last guy standing was Bush.”

No time to read it. No time to debate it. No time to make it better. No time to question line items. No time, no time, no time.

So the prez takes a Washington's Birthday 4 day holiday, relaxes in Chicago, leisurely flies out to Denver, and tells us what a swell fellow he is for saving us from disaster.

Meanwhile, back in Washington, no one's home.

There are times that we look at the stimulus bill and get angry. There are times we laugh at it. This is one of those times when you almost feel like crying at the rank injustice of it all.