Baucus blasts White House for recess appointment of Berwick

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) on Wednesday blasted the Obama administration for sidestepping Congress to install Donald Berwick atop the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Echoing the concerns of some Republicans on that panel, Baucus called Congress’s role in the appointment process an “essential” check on executive power. 

“I’m troubled that, rather than going through the standard nomination process, Dr. Berwick was recess appointed,” Baucus said in a statement. 

“Senate confirmation of presidential appointees is an essential process prescribed by the Constitution that serves as a check on executive power and protects Montanans and all Americans by ensuring that crucial questions are asked of the nominee — and answered.”

Berwick had not been vetted by the Finance panel, nor had Baucus scheduled a hearing to examine the nominee.