Q. What is the appointments process?
A. Simply, the appointments process is the process by which top positions in the Federal government are placed. All such positions are filled with appointees nominated by the President. Some of these, especially policy and judicial nominees, must then continue through the process of Senate review and confirmation prior to entering office, if confirmed.
Q. What is wrong with the appointments process?
A. Briefly, it takes far too long for incoming administrations to place their leaders into office. This has serious negative economic and national security repercussions. This is the result of systemic flaws and an unwillingness to prioritize that need to be addressed.
Q. Why fix the appointments process? What is the urgency to do so?
A. A well-functioning appointments process is integral to effective governance. Incoming administrations should not have to wait months for their team members to be placed into office. The United States cannot afford another lengthy, inefficient transition that puts this country at risk.
Q. What are PA and PAS appointments?
A. Most presidential appointments do not require Senate approval or confirmation. These are classified as ‘PA’, or Presidentially Appointed. A smaller number do require Senate confirmation; the ‘S’ in PAS signifies this Senate oversight and required confirmation.
Q. Does the Commission support the S.679, the Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act being reviewed by Congress?
A. Yes. The Commission supports the act in that it should limit the overall burden of nominees facing review by the Senate. It also provides greater resources to be offered to presidential transition teams and sets up a committee to streamline the overly burdensome nomination forms.
Q. Does S.679 infringe upon the Senate’s constitutional right to ‘advise and consent’? Won’t this come at the expense of the Senate’s role in the appointments process?
A. S.679 only affects a small fraction (around 200) of the many hundreds of presidentially appointed, senate confirmed positions. None of these are significant policy-making positions. The Senate will continue to reserve its authority over the most important policy positions, such as cabinet members. Removing such a small number of non-political positions will have minimal impact on the Senate’s influence. Additionally, more time and resources can be spent overseeing higher-level nominations.