Wednesday, August 1, 2012

a baby step toward congressional reform

On Tuesday the House of Representatives passed a Senate bill intended to reduce somewhat the Senate gridlock over presidential nominations in the executive branch by reducing the number of positions requiring Senate confirmation [labeled PAS by OMB].  In fact, it made only a small dent in the 3,000+ PAS posts, primarily in advisory boards and assistant secretaries for public affairs and congressional relations. No real policy positions involved.

While any reduction in the number of potential hostages is welcome, further cuts risk putting officials beyond one of the key oversight powers of Congress. And the measure does nothing to prevent secret holds on nominations or threatened filibusters that can prevent action even if the nominee eventually wins more than 60 votes.

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