March 21, 2017
Jane Sanders On Presidential Appointments: Bernie Could Immediately Improve America Without Help From Congress [Video]

Hillary Clinton claims that Bernie Sanders' plan for the nation is nothing but wishful thinking. She alleges that, because a conservative House of Representatives will never work with Sanders on his progressive plans, his revolution will fizzle if he were elected. Typically, it would be difficult for Democrats to regain control of the House during a presidential election year, BallotPedia reports. This year, politics is anything but typical, Sanders' supporters counter.

Regardless of whether or not all of the legislation Bernie has introduced to Congress in the past year as a Senator dies in committees, a Sanders presidency could still significantly transform the nation, Bernie's wife believes. In an interview recently on MSNBC, Dr. Jane Sanders brought up an under-reported issue that highlighted how Bernie's presidential appointments would bring about significant changes in America.

"We'd like to see a closing of the revolving door, between lobbyists and big campaign contributors and corporate interests. And working in the FDA or the EPA or any of these - Can you imagine a Cabinet under Bernie Sanders with an environmentalist at the head of the EPA? With somebody without ties to Monsanto or the chemical companies at the head of FDA? I mean, those kinds of things, we want to say, 'This is the future.'"
Bernie Sanders will be in the position of appointing people to particular government positions if he becomes president. For many of them, he would need a confirmation from the Senate on his choices, but according to 270 To Win, in the U.S. Senate, there are 34 seats that will be open to new lawmakers in 2016. Of those 34 seats, 24 are currently held by Republicans. Democrats will only need to gain about five more senators than they have now in order to take back control of the Senate. Therefore, having a Senate with enough Democrats to approve Sanders' appointees is completely possible, if enough Democrats and progressive Independent voters come out to vote in the general election, Sanders' supporters say.

Historically, Sanders has strongly opposed appointments to government positions if the appointees are too aligned with corporate lobbyists or large industries.

When President Obama announced his pick for the head of the FDA, Sen. Bernie Sanders called Dr. Robert Califf a pharmaceutical industry loyalist and announced that Califf was not fit to lead the FDA. He was one of only four Senators that opposed the appointment.In fact, the President of the United States even has the authority to appoint a few hundred people to significant positions within the nation's government without anyone's approval at all. For these positions, should Bernie Sanders become President Sanders, he would be able to appoint people unilaterally and with no Senate approval whatsoever. For example, when President Obama appointed the director of the CDC, the New York Times reported that that position did not require Senate approval. A federal report indicates that two of the hundreds of positions that a President Sanders could appoint without anyone's confirmation include the Director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture at the USDA and the Deputy Director of the CIA. Both of these positions, and many more, could be appointed without Senate approval.

In a report to Congress by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the GAO named 321 presidential appointments (PA) that exist throughout the federal government. These PA positions do not require any confirmation from the Senate. The GAO reported that, thanks to President Obama's signing of the Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act, an additional 163 presidentially-appointed positions that once required Senate approval are now simply appointed by the president alone.

"PA positions fall into one of three categories: 67% are positions on federal commissions, councils, committees, boards or foundations; 29% are positions within the Executive Office of the President; and the remaining 4% are in other federal agencies or departments."
As president, Bernie Sanders could also unilaterally appoint U.S. representatives to United Nations organizations and even appoint people within important non-agency organizations like the National Cancer Institute or the National Institutes of Health, as well as a whole host of other positions within the federal government. Sanders' supporters, including Jane Sanders, believe that with Bernie-appointed federal leaders, the United States would see drastically less corruption right away.

[Photo by Gage Skidmore/Wikipedia/Creative Commons 2.0/cropped]