federalist #37, revisited

Senate-confirmed, agency appointees play a vital role in American government, but the proliferation of these positions also presents a problem peculiar to the American system: long-term vacancies, or periods without a confirmed appointee serving in the position. Continue reading

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house republicans and s.679

One of the most intriguing and unexpected aspects of the July 31 House passage of S.679, the Presidential Appointment Act, is the roughly 100 Republican Yes votes. I gather that, without the votes to win passage, supporters of the legislation like Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) turned a few no’s  to yes’s. Who are the Republican yes votes? Another project I don’t have time to tackle, but perhaps someone else is inspired to tack a look at the roll call (which, by the way, is here) – and I’m certainly open to whatever wisdom exists out there.

visualizing the impact of S679

As we at Bureauphile were shocked to learn earlier in the week, S. 679 successfully passed a House vote on July 31, 2012. We have done some very preliminary analysis of the impact of S. 679, which we presented at the “Appointee Politics and the Implications for Government Effectiveness” Workshop in Alexandria, VA on May 4th to some of the Senate committee staff responsible for writing the bill.

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holy cow!

Yesterday, the House passed S.679, a bill that reforms the presidential appointments process and reduces the number of presidential appointments subject to Senate confirmation. Everything I know about Congress is wrong!

S.679 was a topic of interest, but a keen sense of skepticism among participants in May’s Appointees Workshop, an event sponsored by the Virginia Tech Center for Public Administration and Policy  and the Indiana University School and Public and Environmental Affairs. I doubt any of the experts gathered to examine the role of appointees in American government would have predicted the bill’s passage this year. We will review elements of the new law in coming weeks, but for now a simple question: What happened to gridlock?

the justice department’s new watchdog

Morning Edition’s sympathetic profile of Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz this morning is the type of story IG advocates envision. The battle between House Republicans  and Attorney General Eric Holder over access to documents related to the so-called “Fast and Furious” scandal look bad, the story begins:

But one man has already been sifting through secret emails about the operation known as Fast and Furious. He’s Michael Horowitz, the Justice Department’s new watchdog.

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