Prominent on the long list of unfinished business in Congress was confirmation of the President’s nomination of Jack Lew to head the Office of Management and Budget. Two Senate committees with jurisdiction over the nomination held public hearings and promptly approved it with decisive bipartisan votes.
However, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) said she would block the nomination until a moratorium on deepwater oil and gas drilling is lifted or modified. The administration imposed the moratorium to allow time to implement new safety measures after this year’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Senate should still have found some way to move forward to a vote on Lew. It was fiscally irresponsible for senators to leave for the recess without doing so. Federal agencies have already begun preparing next year’s budget, and many difficult decisions will be required in the weeks ahead. They will be even more difficult if no one is in place at OMB to make them.