WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama, frustrated by Republican obstruction of key administration staffing appointments, will use his power to appoint his pick to run Medicare and Medicaid while the U.S. Congress is in recess, the White House said on Tuesday.
Obama will make the appointment on Wednesday of Dr. Donald Berwick, a healthcare expert he nominated in April to run the vast federal medical programs for poor and elderly Americans, according to White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer.
"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," Pfeiffer said in a blog posted on the White House website.
Berwick's appointment as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) place him at the heart of Obama's historic healthcare reform, and the role was too vital to leave unfilled, Pfeiffer said.
"CMS has been without a permanent administrator since 2006, and even many Republicans have called on the Administration to move to quickly to name a permanent head," he said.
The president has the power to fill top federal vacancies that would normally require Senate approval while the Senate is in recess. Many presidents have used this power to get around a Senate that is obstructing the administration's nominations.
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