“NO” on Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act of 2011 (House)

This week, the House will vote on the Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act of 2011 (S.679), which would alter the Senate’s confirmation process by reducing the number of presidential appointments that require the consent of the Senate.  Despite being controversial, the bill will be considered under suspension of the rules, which requires a two-thirds vote.

Citing two Supreme Court case – Edmond v. United States (1997) and Ryder v. United States (1995), respectively, The Heritage Foundation notes that “the Appointments Clause is ‘among the significant structural safeguards of the constitutional scheme’ and ‘is a bulwark against one branch aggrandizing its power at the expense of another branch.’”

Congress should not relinquish the Senate’s constitutional duty to consent unless it concludes that such a check is of no value because the office itself is of little or no authority or consequence.  According to Heritage, however, that is not the case here:

“It does not appear that the sponsors of S. 679 have determined that each of the offices the bill converts from appointments made by the President with Senate consent to appointments made by the President alone is an office of little or no authority or consequence. Instead, it appears that the principal sponsors simply concluded that the Senate is too slow in performing its duty to consider and consent (or not) to presidential nominations and hope to accelerate the Senate process by simply reducing the number of such nominations the President must make.”

Lawmakers concerned about the pace of the nomination process should look inward rather than passing measures to relinquish the Senate’s constitutional duty to consent in the nomination process.

Heritage Action opposes S.679 and will include it as a key vote in our scorecard. 

Related Links:
Heritage Action’s Scorecard
Key Vote Alert: “NO” on Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act of 2011 (Senate)
Heritage: Speed Up Nominations and Confirmations, but Do Not Enact S. 679
Senate Vote Results on S.679