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Rep. Berman Calls for Quick House Action on Bill to Protect Appointment Process for U.S.

Location: Washington, DC

Rep. Berman Calls for Quick House Action on Bill to Protect Appointment Process for U.S.

Rep. Howard Berman, Chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, today applauded the work of the House Commercial and Administrative Law Subcommittee: "Chairman Sanchez is to be commended for promptly calling this hearing to examine the Administration's unprecedented firing of 8 U.S. Attorneys and to consider H.R. 580, the legislative response I've introduced."

Since passage of the PATRIOT Act, the Attorney General can unilaterally appoint U.S. attorneys who can serve indefinitely without Senate confirmation. Berman, joined by Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers and Subcommittee on Crime Chairman Bobby Scott, has introduced legislation to repeal that provision.

"The language that granted this new power to the Attorney General was slipped into the PATRIOT Act reauthorization at the request of the Department of Justice at a time when Republican negotiators were excluding Democrats," noted Berman. "This "lockout" at the end of the process was part of the reason that the majority of House Democrats opposed the reauthorization of the PATRIOT Act."

"My bill will reset the system of checks and balances in the U.S. Attorney confirmation process. It will require Senate confirmation of any interim U.S. attorneys, including any chosen to replace these eight."

"We have learned - in the Senate and House hearings today - just how important it is that we remove political manipulation from interfering with our nation's chief federal law enforcement officers," said Berman.

"We expect a mark-up on H.R. 580 very soon. We intend to move this legislation very quickly," said Berman.

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