Never let it be said that Barack Obama doesn’t reward loyalty. Loyalty to himself, of course.
Within seconds of the announcement that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was resigning Thursday, news broke about who her replacement would be: Sylvia Burwell of OMB.
Burwell is famous for something that she did last year. NBC News:
A single person shut down the entire U.S. government for the first time in 17 years.Not a congressman, but an unelected woman named Sylvia Burwell who, as the relatively new director of the Office of Management and Budget, sent the email that initiated the process that has closed national parks, visitors’ centers and even the “panda-cam” at the National Zoo.
“Agencies should now execute plans for an orderly shutdown due to the absence of appropriations,” Burwell wrote in a memo to heads of executive departments and agencies Monday night as it became clear lawmakers had failed to agree on a budget deal. “We urge Congress to act quickly to pass a Continuing Resolution to provide a short-term bridge that ensures sufficient time to pass a budget for the remainder of the fiscal year.”
And with that email, veterans got locked out of their memorials, federal parks got shut down, even the National Zoo’s Panda Cam went dark. Burwell was Obama’s point person for punishing the American people in ways that the federal government had not contemplated during any of the previous shutdowns.
Burwell will have to be confirmed by the Senate before she takes the reins of Obamacare. Thanks to Harry Reid’s filibuster rule change last November, she’ll only need 51 votes. She is likely to get them, the Senate confirmed her 96-0 to head OMB just last year. The Democrats will portray any criticism of her now as a battle in the phony “war on women.” Her role in the shutdown will come up, in fact Obama is surely counting on it and hoping that the hearings are contentious and generate headlines and soundbites useful to him for the mid-terms. But some red state Democrats might be on the spot as to whether they’ll support the person who locked veterans — some who traveled hundreds or even thousands of miles from their homes to Washington — out of the memorials dedicated to their friends and comrades.