Most Obama Posts Still Not Filled

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 23, 2009 7:08 PM CDT
In this Dec. 11, 2008 file photo, President Barack Obama, right, stands with Health and Human Services Secretary-designate, former Senate Majority Leader Thomas Daschle.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak,File)
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(Newser) – President Obama is still missing more than half his team after 7 months in the Oval Office, the New York Times reports. Facing a grueling confirmation process for appointees, the president has filled only 43% of more than 500 top policymaking positions that require Senate approval. Planning to reform financial markets, improve cybersecurity, and curb nuclear proliferation, he lacks key officials in each area.

Yet it's an old problem that Democrats and Republicans have vowed to fix, and Obama is actually faring better than his predecessor, 15% into his term. Acting officials are stepping in to fill the gaps for now, and the White House says its plans are still going strong. But acting officials "don’t feel the same loyalties or freedom to exert control," says one observer. "And what you get is drift in the agencies.”