Focusing on six words: Helping government do its job better

Archive for January 26th, 2010

DorobekInsider: Could GSA nominee Johnson be headed to a Senate vote?

leave a comment »

The long pending nomination of the Obama administration’s nominee to head the General Services Administration could be headed to the Senate floor.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) could bring Martha Johnson’s name to the Senate floor — despite the hold placed by Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) — using a cloture motion as soon as next week after the Senate takes action on Ben Bernake‘s nomination for a second term as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.

If this holds true — and these things are fluid — it would mark an important step for GSA, which has been without a permanent administration since Lurita Doan left that post almost two years ago. And it would mark an end to a prolonged nomination process for Johnson, most of which has focused on a federal building project in Kansas City, MO.

If this holds true, it will also alleviate a lot of nervousness inside GSA, among other agencies — but also in industry. Just today, theDorobekInsider got a call asking why the press wasn’t making more of a deal about Johnson’s delayed nomination. In fact, I noted that Federal News Radio’s Jason Miller did a three part series about it — and I have been talking about it wherever I can. One of the problems: There is no driving force for the GSA nominee the way there for TSA following the underwear bomber, for example. And given the fact that GSA is the government’s landlord and there are always issues with buildings, the nomination can often get hung up.

Not to reinforce the already simmering skirmish within GSA between the acquisition and building side of the organization, but… it is often interesting at hearings involving GSA because lawmakers spend all sorts of time on building issues while acquisition issues often end up on the sidelines. That is despite the fact that GSA’s Federal Acquisition Services is responsible for $53 billion in sales each year. And that doesn’t even include the governmentwide purchase card program, which accounts for $3 billion each year. The one thing that I think both the building and acquisition teams agree: They are happy when lawmakers aren’t focused on them.

Meanwhile, we’re following the ongoing Johnson saga closely.

Written by cdorobek

January 26, 2010 at 1:16 AM