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Public Statements

Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act of 2011

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mrs. MALONEY. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of S. 679, the Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act, which was introduced in the Senate by Senators Schumer and Alexander. This bill will improve the Presidential appointment process by reducing the number of Presidentially appointed positions that are required to be confirmed by the Senate.

The number of Presidentially appointed positions that require Senate confirmation has increased over the years. The Congressional Research Service estimates that at the beginning of the Obama administration, there were 1,215 executive branch positions subject to Senate confirmation. It takes months for a new President to fill these positions, and the resulting gaps in leadership make the government less efficient and less productive.

This bill will reduce the bureaucracy and red tape that comes with requiring the Senate to confirm Presidential appointments. Under this bill, high-profile positions, such as Department Secretaries and Deputy Secretaries, will continue to require the consent of the Senate. This bill impacts lower-level positions, which a President routinely fills these positions without any controversy. For example, this bill would eliminate the Senate confirmation requirement for positions such as the alternate Federal cochairman of the Appalachian Regional Commission and members of the National Council on Disability.

In addition to reforming the Presidential appointments process, the legislation before us today makes the Director of the Census Bureau a Presidential term appointment of 5 years, subject to confirmation by the Senate. I particularly am pleased the bill includes this provision so that the Director is tied to the needs of the decennial census and not to an election year calendar.

For years, I have been working on this provision, which I proposed in H.R. 4595 in the 111th Congress, to ensure the Census Bureau is able to perform the decennial census as accurately and as inexpensively as possible. Senator Carper introduced this bill in the Senate and added this amendment to the bill we are considering today.

Too often, in the last four decennials, there have been major operations issues to overcome just before implementation. Historically, it's not uncommon for the Bureau to be without a Director to lead the agency until shortly before the decennial. We did not have a Director in place for the current 2010 count until mere months before census day. In 2000, the Census Director took office 2 years before the decennial count; and in 1990, it was 1 week before the count.

This change will help to ensure the independence of the Census Bureau from political interference and ensure adequate leadership for the census in critical planning and implementation phases for the decennial.

Data and analysis from the Census Bureau provides policymakers, businesses, and State and local governments with vital, accurate, scientific information that is used to guide our country's economic growth. It's important that Bureau leadership have stability. So I thank the chairman and ranking members for getting this done.

The Senate passed this bill with an overwhelming bipartisan majority. I believe this body should defer to the will of the Senate when it comes to their own process for confirming Presidential appointments. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this good-government bill.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mrs. MALONEY. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I respectfully disagree with my good friend from the great State of Texas, Representative Gohmert. The number of executive branch positions subject to Senate confirmation has grown at a very large number, and it literally takes months to fill these positions, and the resulting gaps in leadership makes the government less efficient and less productive. It came to us with a strong bipartisan vote in the Senate, and I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support it, and I yield back the balance of my time.

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