Presidential Appointments, the Senate’s Confirmation Process, and Changes Made in the 112th Congress

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on November 4, 2012

CRS – Presidential Appointments, the Senate’s Confirmation Process, and Changes Made in the 112th Congress. Maeve P. Carey, Analyst in Government Organization and Management, October 9, 2012

  • “The responsibility for populating top positions in the executive and judicial branches of government is one the Senate and the President share. The President nominates an individual, the Senate may confirm him, and the President would then present him with a signed commission. The Constitution divided the responsibility for choosing those who would run the federal government by granting the President the power of appointment and the Senate the power of advice and consent. Several hundred people go through the appointments process each year. Prior to the adoption of the measures discussed in this report, there were approximately 1,200-1,400 positions in the executive branch requiring the Senate’s advice and consent. The pace of the appointment and confirmation processes has been the subject of a series of critical reports and proposals for change. Critics believe that the executive branch vetting, and/or the confirmation process in the Senate, is too long and difficult and discourages people from seeking government office. Others, however, contend that most nominations are successful, suggesting that the process is functioning as it should, and that careful scrutiny of candidates is appropriate. During the 112th Congress, a bipartisan group of Senators crafted two measures they contend will make the appointment process easier and quicker. Both measures were adopted.”
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