Earlier today, Commerce Secretary John Bryson resigned from his post after a health scare over the weekend of June 8-10. While driving around his home in California, Bryson suffered multiple seizures while behind the wheel of his car, and was involved in two accidents. The 68-year-old Bryson had been on leave since the accidents took place.
In handing in his resignation to President Obama, Bryson said, “The work that you do to help America’s entrepreneurs and businesses build our economy and create jobs is more important now than ever and I have come to the conclusion that I need to step down to prevent distractions from this critical mission.”
President Obama accepted Bryson’s resignation last night, and remarked today, “I want to extend my deepest thanks and appreciation to John for his service over the past months, and wish him and his family the very best … As Secretary, John fought tirelessly for our nation’s businesses and workers, helping to bolster our exports and promote American manufacturing and products at home and abroad. John has proven himself an effective and distinguished leader throughout his career in both the public and private sectors, from his success in the business world to his work leading on issues in the renewable energy industry.”
It’s unclear who will take the helm after Bryson’s departure. Acting Secretary, Rebecca Blank, who’s served since the beginning of Bryson’s leave on June 11, has the confidence of President Obama on the interim. With a divided Senate and an upcoming election, it’s possible President Obama will either use a recess appointment to replace Bryson or allow Blank to serve as Acting Secretary until after the election.
Over that weekend, Bryson collided with two cars within five minutes, and Bryson allegedly fled the scene of one of the collisions. He was issued a citation by police for a hit-and-run accident. It’s unclear whether or not this directly contributed to Bryson’s departure, and if there will be any further recourse for the former Secretary.
During the GOP Presidential Primaries, Gov. Rick Perry and Rep. Ron Paul both indicated that they’d like to see the Commerce Department eliminated. That stance was echoed today by former Congressman Chris Chocola, current President of the Club for Growth, in saying, “The Commerce Department contains many programs that are unnecessary, duplicative, or could easily be done by other departments. Instead of continuing to flush taxpayer dollars down the drain on the Commerce Department, President Obama could save taxpayers billions by joining with fiscal conservatives in calling for its elimination.”