Headed for the President’s desk is the Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act. The House just passed the measure, which marks a rare instance of a branch of government giving up some of its power. Under the bill, Senate confirmation will no longer be required for 220 presidentially appointed positions. Many of the positions are to various boards and commissions that most are not familiar with. That said, there will still be nearly a thousand appointments requiring Senate confirmation. Hopefully, the Government Accountability Office study outlined in the bill will be able to find additional appointments (likely second or third level officials) that can go without Senate confirmation.
This has an impact on several science and technology positions (the full list is given on pages 11-14 of the Committee Report). These include:
- The Chief Scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (the last nominee had to withdraw earlier this year because of an unrelated hold on his confirmation);
- The Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Homeland Security;
- The Commissioner for Education Statistics;
- The Director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics;
- The Director of the Institute of Justice; and
- The members of the National Science Board
Another change coming from this bill is that the Director of the Census Bureau will be made a (five year) term appointment, renewable for a second term. This would link the position more tightly with the Census cycle. Senate confirmation would still be required.