Recess appointments and the economy

RECESS APPOINTMENTS AND THE ECONOMY…. Much of the attention surrounding President Obama’s recess appointments focuses on the National Labor Relations Board, in large part because Republicans don’t want labor-friendly representatives on the panel.

But Matt Yglesias highlights five of the 15 nominees who received appointments yesterday, in the hopes of emphasizing just “how absurd the level of GOP obstructionism has become.”

* Jeffrey Goldstein will be Undersecretary of Treasury for Domestic Finance.

* Michael Mundaca will be Assistant Secretary of Treasury for Tax Policy.

* Eric Hirschorn will be Undersecretary of Commerce for Export Administration.

* Michael Punke will be Deputy US Trade Representative and head up the office in Geneva.

* Islam A. Siddiqui will be Chief Agricultural Negotiator, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

It’s worth appreciating the fact that all five of these nominees have jobs directly related to the economy, and most of them were blocked from receiving votes in the Senate because Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) hasn’t been satisfied with — get this — enforcement of prohibitions on internet gambling. Kyl wanted enforcement in January, the administration said June, so Kyl effectively responded, “No Treasury Department officials for you.”

And so, in the midst of a global economic crisis, the United States government has endured vacancies in important offices because one right-wing senator was pouting over a six-month delay in implementing regulations on internet gambling.

There’s simply no way to defend this. As former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker recently put it, “How can we run a government in the middle of a financial crisis without doing the ordinary, garden-variety administrative work of filling the relevant agencies?”

Fortunately, President Obama got tired of asking that question yesterday.