WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, convened a hearing with government reform experts to examine how lawmakers could streamline the presidential appointment process and reduce federal vacancies, while maintaining the Senate’s constitutional authority to provide advice and consent on nominees. The hearing examined how a growing number of federal government positions requiring Senate confirmation and prolonged confirmation processes have contributed to delays in getting qualified leaders in place at federal agencies. The extensive time commitment to confirm nominees also limits agencies’ ability to provide effective services to Americans, as well as limits the time the Senate can devote to important legislative efforts.
“Every Administration deserves to choose qualified leaders to helm critical agencies and help effectively govern our nation,” said Peters in his opening statement. “And providing a swift confirmation process, without excessive bureaucratic road blocks, for these nominees is key to not only exercising the Senate’s responsibility to advise and consent, but also ensuring presidential appointees will be accountable to Congress and the American people.”
To watch video of Senator Peters’ opening remarks, click here. For text of Peters’ opening remarks, as prepared, click here.
To watch video of Senator Peters’ questions, click here.
At the hearing, Peters and the witnesses discussed the challenges that lead to significant delays in confirming nominees, and what actions Congress should consider to address these issues – including reevaluating what positions should require Senate confirmation. The committee also heard how a large number of presidential appointments and the slow pace at which they are confirmed has resulted in a lack of transparency from presidential administrations, caused performance issues at federal agencies due to a lack of steady leadership, and limited government effectiveness. Peters and the witnesses also discussed how previous administrations have overused acting officials and officials performing the duties of a Senate-confirmed position, which has impeded Congress’s ability to conduct oversight.