Today, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved by Voice Vote a bill to “streamline the nominations process,” according to a press release.
The bipartisan Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act of 2011, S. 679 – sponsored by Rules Committee Chairman Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Ranking Member Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and co-sponsored by Homeland Security Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., and Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Me. – would eliminate Senate confirmation for about 200 presidential nominees and set in motion a process to streamline and consolidate the many forms nominees are required to fill out. The Rules Committee is working on a companion resolution to exclude a number of board and commission appointments from the Senate nomination process.
A bipartisan group of Senators “proposed a bill Wednesday that would reduce the number of presidential nominations that need Senate confirmation, thus helping to clear the current backlog of stalled executive branch nominations,” Roll Call reports.
In legislation proposed as part of a bipartisan deal to reform Senate rules, Democratic Conference Vice Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.), Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), and Sens.Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) unveiled a bill that would exempt about 200 executive nominations and 3,000 officer corps posts from a confirmation vote by the full Senate.
According to the authors, the legislation would reduce the Senate’s confirmation load by a third.
In addition, a separate resolution offered Wednesday “would create a ‘streamlined’ confirmation process for 250 part-time executive branch positions.”
Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) are co-sponsoring both measures.
According to the AP, among the positions “no longer needing confirmation are the chief scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the deputy director of the National Drug Control Policy, the State Department assistant secretary for public affairs and the Treasury Department director of the Mint.”
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced a resolution today “to change Senate rules to provide sufficient time for legislation to be read before being considered by the U.S. Senate,” according to a press release from his office.
The waiting period point of order would require all bills, amendments, and conference reports to be filed for one day for every 20 pages before it can be considered.
Senator Paul says this is done in keeping with his pledge “to increase transparency and accessibility in the U.S. Senate.”
Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) has been selected to deliver Washington’s Farewell Address on Monday, February 28.
According to the official Senate website, this tradition “began on February 22, 1862, as a morale-boosting gesture during the darkest days of the Civil War.”
Every year since 1896, the Senate has observed Washington’s Birthday by selecting one of its members, alternating parties, to read the 7,641-word statement in legislative session. Delivery generally takes about 45 minutes.
Wyoming Republican Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso have introduced a bill that would require “each piece of legislation considered by the Senate be confined to a single issue,” according to a press release.
The legislation would “enact a standing order that creates a point of order against a bill or resolution that is not confined to a single issue.” This point of order “can only be overruled by a supermajority of 67 votes.”
Representative David Schweikert (R-AZ) has sponsored a similar bill in the House.
A note from POLITICO:
The single-issue legislation rule is common practice in many state legislatures, including the home states of Barasso, Enzi, and Schweikert. A bipartisan group of house members from Colorado — Reps. Doug Lamborn, Jared Polis, Cory Gardner and Scott Tipton — introduced a similar bill earlier this year based on their home state legislature that also has a single-issue rule.