By Erik Wasson - 12/22/11 08:23 PM EST
President Obama’s head of customs and border security resigned on Thursday.
Alan Bersin said in a statement that he informed Obama of his decision earlier in the day and his last day will be next Friday.
“Earlier today, I notified the President of my intent to resign as Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection effective Dec. 30. I have expressed my deep gratitude and appreciation to President Obama and Secretary Napolitano for the opportunity to have led such an exceptional organization and for the confidence they have shown in me,” Bersin said.
Bersin joins another Obama administration official, Don Berwick, the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, who resigned in November in the face of an expiring recess appointment. Berwick had become a lightning rod for the debate over the Obama healthcare reforms.
The House and Senate are being kept in session over the Christmas holiday to prevent Obama from making any recess appointments.
The head of the Senate Homeland Security committee decried the fact the Senate never even voted on Bersin's nomination.
“It is a sad testament to our broken nomination process that Mr. Bersin was never reported out by the Finance Committee and given the opportunity to have his nomination voted on by the Senate,” Chairman Joe Lieberman (I-Ct.) said. “I urge the President to move quickly to identify his successor in order to ensure that CBP has the leadership it needs to keep our nation’s borders secure.”
No replacement has been named to head customs agency, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security. Secretary Janet Napolitano said Deputy Commissioner David Aguilar will serve as acting commissioner.