DorobekInsider: Johnson’s GSA nomination moves one step closer with cloture

Thursday - 1/28/2010, 7:26pm EST

The DorobekInsider told you it was likely to happen — and in fact it has: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) tonight filed a cloture motion for Martha Johnson’s long pending nomination, Federal News Radio’s Jason Miller confirmed.

Reid’s folks say that the cloture vote hasn’t been set yet, but… the fact that they are moving forward is a significant step.

Essentially, the “cloture” vote means that the Senate would vote to bring debate to an end. Technically, when a senator puts a “hold” on the nomination, it means they want to continue debate. So the cloture vote would bring that “debate” to an end — and the Senate would then have to vote on the Johnson nomination itself.

This would mark an important step for GSA, which has been without a permanent administration since Lurita Doan left that post nearly 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.

Back in April, the White House nominated Martha Johnson, a chief of staff at GSA under former administrator David Barrum, to be the GSA administrator. She made it through the Senate committee in June. In August, Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) confirmed that he had put a hold on Johnson’s nomination because of a Kansas City, MO federal building. And last night in the State of the Union address, President Obama urged senators to take action on the number of pending nominations.

The confirmation of well-qualified public servants shouldn’t be held hostage to the pet projects or grudges of a few individual senators.

What are we watching for next? The cloture vote needs to be scheduled — and that would be followed by a vote on the nomination.

Stay tuned.