DorobekINSIDER: Could Tuesday be GSA nominee Johnson’s V-Day?

Monday - 2/1/2010, 6:18pm EST

Could Tuesday be V-Day for Martha Johnson, the Obama administration’s nominee to be GSA administrator — V-day meaning Senate vote day.

We told you last week Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) had put Johnson’s on the list for cloture — essentially putting her forward to end debate and then allow a yeah-or-nah vote on her nomination.

Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) today issued a strong statement on Johnson’s nomination. Some key segments:

… As a former Chief of Staff for GSA, Ms. Johnson has the background to hit the ground running. And that is important for an agency that has not had a permanent leader since April 2008, when the former administrator was asked to resign by the previous Administration. And here it is, February 2010. It’s been more than a half year since Ms. Johnson’s nomination was sent to the full Senate and since that time GSA has undergone several changes in top management. It’s become an unfortunate practice that some Senators hold up nominations for reasons unrelated to their nomination. It’s obviously time for stable leadership at GSA.

It’s been very frustrating for members of our committee to see such a qualified nominee held up for more than half a year because of something that has nothing to do with the nominee’s qualifications. I would like to take a moment to remind my colleagues of the full scope of GSA’s responsibilities – an agency that mostly works out of the spotlight – so they can better understand why the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee unanimously endorsed her nomination last June…

… But the agency is in need of strong leadership. If confirmed, Ms. Johnson will face many challenges. Let me lay out just a few of the most important.

In the area of procurement, the contracts negotiated by GSA must leverage the vast buying power of the federal government so agencies get more value for the taxpayer’s dollar…

… But some agencies have lost confidence in the ability of GSA to provide the best products at the best prices and have negotiated their own contracts or interagency contracts that duplicate services offered by GSA…

… Similar problems exist in GSA’s property management activities with agencies sometimes questioning whether GSA meets their needs in the most cost effective manner…

Read the full statement below.

Meanwhile, starting Tuesday, GSA’s new deputy administration Susan Brita arrives on the job. Most recently, Brita was the staff director for the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management.

And here is the full release from Lieberman:

LIEBERMAN URGES CONFIRMATION OF MARTHA JOHNSON
Nominee has been Held Since June; Senate to Vote on Cloture

WASHINGTON—Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., delivered the following statement on the Senate floor Monday calling for Senate confirmation of Government Services Administration nominee Martha Johnson. Johnson’s nomination has been held up since June, when she was unanimously approved by the Committee:

Mr. President, I rise to urge my colleagues to vote for cloture on the nomination of Martha Johnson to be Administrator of the General Services Administration so we can put this extraordinary nominee to work as soon as possible in a job critically important to the efficient operation of the federal government.

As a former Chief of Staff for GSA, Ms. Johnson has the background to hit the ground running. And that is important for an agency that has not had a permanent leader since April 2008, when the former administrator was asked to resign by the previous Administration. And here it is, February 2010. It’s been more than a half year since Ms. Johnson’s nomination was sent to the full Senate and since that time GSA has undergone several changes in top management. It’s become an unfortunate practice that some Senators hold up nominations for reasons unrelated to their nomination. It’s obviously time for stable leadership at GSA.

It’s been very frustrating for members of our committee to see such a qualified nominee held up for more than half a year because of something that has nothing to do with the nominee’s qualifications. I would like to take a moment to remind my colleagues of the full scope of GSA’s responsibilities – an agency that mostly works out of the spotlight – so they can better understand why the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee unanimously endorsed her nomination last June.