Filling Advice and Consent Positions at the Outset of a New Administration [December 18, 2008]   [open pdf - 3MB]

"In its 2004 report, the 9/11 Commission identified what it perceived were shortcomings in the appointment process during presidential transitions. The report asserted that delays in filling top executive branch leadership positions, such as those experienced during the 2000-2001 transition, could compromise national security policy-making in the early months of a new Administration. [...]. The process is likely to develop a bottleneck during this time, even under the best of circumstances, due to the large number of candidates who must be selected, vetted, and, in the case of positions filled through appointment by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate (PAS positions), considered by that body. The advice and consent appointment process has three stages: selection and vetting, Senate consideration, and presidential appointment. Congress has taken steps to accelerate appointments during presidential transitions. In recent decades, Senate committees have provided for pre-nomination consideration of Cabinet-level nominations; examples of such actions are provided in this report. In addition, recently adopted statutory provisions appear designed to facilitate faster processing of appointments during presidential transitions. [...]. The final portion of the report provides comprehensive data and analyses related to the length of time taken during recent party-turnover transitions to fill Cabinet-level positions and selected higher-level subcabinet positions. In general, transition-period Cabinet-level nominees were selected, vetted, considered, and confirmed expeditiously; they generally took office shortly after the new President's inauguration."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R40119
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