Senate Eases Confirmation Process

The Senate leadership has agreed to exempt 1/3 of nominations from the confirmation process.

While the elimination of secret holds rightly gets most of the attention, another reform agreed to last night by the Senate leadership may actually do more to do away with silly roadblocks:

Legislation to exempt about 1/3 of all nominations from the Senate confirmation process, reducing the number of executive nominations subject to Senate delays, which will be scheduled at a future date under the terms of an agreement reached by Sens. Mitch McConnell and Lamar Alexander, Homeland Security and Government Affairs Chairman Joe Lieberman and HSGA ranking member Sen. Susan Collins, along with Sens. Reid and Chuck Schumer.

I heartily support congressional oversight on major appointments but the current process unnecessarily holds up confirmation of relatively minor officials, usually for reasons having nothing to do with the nominee or the duties of the office.

This should be followed by reducing by at least half the number of positions subject to presidential appointment.  It makes sense for the president to appoint his inner cabinet, federal justices, and other top officials.  But we’d be better off with career professions in such positions as U.S. Attorney, seats on independent regulatory agencies, and so forth.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.