As President Obama speaks about promoting exports this morning, Washington is abuzz over a recess appointment he has made. Mr. Obama's nominee for Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Dr. Donald Berwick, wasn't passing muster with some Republicans on the Hill after his April nomination, so the president is taking advantage of the congressional recess and putting him on the job, anyway. It's a tactic other presidents have employed when they want to squeeze through a nominee likely to have difficulty in Senate confirmation hearings.
The reason for Republican distaste? Berwick's views on rationing in the health care system; a view that is being amplified with his new post. "Dr. Berwick is a self professed supporter of rationing health care and he won't even have to explain his views to the American people in a Congressional hearing," Wyoming Senator John Barrasso (R) said after learning of the recess appointment.
Berwick has said in the past that rationing of health care is already something insurance companies engage in.
President Obama proclaims that Republican opposition to Berwick is just an exercise in politics. "It's unfortunate that at a time when our nation is facing enormous challenges, many in Congress have decided to delay critical nominations for political purposes," he said in a statement.
Watch Fox News Channel for the latest developments on this and other White House-related stories.
Here is the full White House schedule for Wednesday, July 7:
11:25am President Obama delivers remarks on export promotion [foxlivestream]
11:30am The first lady will visit the Department of Treasury for her 20th agency visit to thank employees for their public service and deliver remarks
12:00pm President Obama and VP Biden receive a briefing on the BP Horizon oil spill
12:30pm President Obama and VP Biden have lunch
1:30pm Briefing by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs [foxlivestream]
2:00pm President Obama and VP Biden meet with Treasury Secretary Geithner
3:30pm President Obama and VP Biden meet with Secretary of State Clinton