Senate confirms Martha Johnson as GSA administrator

Johnson becomes first General Services Administration chief since April 2008

Martha Johnson was confirmed today by the Senate to head the General Services Administration.

The Senate voted 96-0 in favor of Johnson, after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) moved to invoke cloture against a threatened filibuster by Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.), who had placed a hold on Johnson's nomination since June 2009. The cloture vote, which requires 60 votes, was 82-16.

Johnson will be the first administrator since April 2008, when Lurita Doan left the office.

In  a statement issued after the vote, Johnson said: “My priority as administrator will be to put GSA’s expertise to work developing and executing policies and products that will create a greener, more efficient, more cost-effective, more open, and more responsible government.”

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and the committee's ranking Republican, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), welcomed the Johnson’s confirmation, saying she is well qualified and GSA needs her leadership.


Related stories:

Martha Johnson may bring old era back to GSA

GSA nominee acknowledges serious challenges


“Given GSA’s wide responsibilities and providing information technology and telecommunications services, I am concerned that we lack a confirmed administrator at a time when we are also trying, of course, to strengthen our cyber defenses,” Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said in a speech before the vote.

“She served previously as GSA’s chief of staff, helping to lead that agency at a time of substantial change,” Collins said in a statement. “Today, the GSA faces even greater challenges and demands.”

Speaking on the Senate floor after the vote, Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) said he was irritated Johnson’s nomination was held up for more than seven months after Lieberman’s committee, which has jurisdiction over GSA, unanimously approved her in June.

“This nomination should have taken 10 minutes of the floor of the Senate last June,” he said.

Bond’s hold was meant to apply pressure on the government to approve a proposed federal office building in downtown Kansas City, Mo. In the end, Bond voted for Johnson’s nomination.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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