Privileged nominees taking longer to confirm: report

Privileged presidential nominees, which are supposed to be noncontroversial and easily confirmed by the Senate through what was designed to be an expedited process, are taking longer to confirm than other nominees, according to a report by the Partnership for Public Service’s Center for Presidential Transition released on Monday.

The report found that nominees serving in the roughly 280 positions eligible for the privileged nomination process, which are typically noncontroversial positions like roles on boards and commissions, have taken 75 days longer to confirm than all other nominees.

In 2011, the Senate approved the expedited process, which allows privileged nominees to bypass the committee process and be quickly placed on the Senate executive calendar, but those nominees still wait alongside all others for a vote by the full Senate.

“Despite this well-intentioned effort, nominees on the privileged calendar are worse off today than they were before the reform was adopted,” the report states.

The center found that positions on the privileged nomination calendar are taking 47 percent longer to confirm since the procedure was introduced. Privileged nominees took an average of 251 days to confirm since the system went into effect, compared to 171 days in the prior decade.

Part-time positions on the privileged calendar have taken 70 days longer to confirm on average than full-time roles, which the report attributed to the Senate’s prioritization of more controversial, full-time positions.

The report provides two recommendations to solve the backlog.

First, the center recommends Congress converts more privileged nominee positions to presidential appointments that do not require Senate confirmation, nonpolitical career roles or agency-controlled appointments.

“The Senate has already determined that many of these positions are noncontroversial and do not need the same level of scrutiny as standard Senate-confirmed appointees,” the report reads.

Second, the report suggests an expedited floor procedure in the Senate to consider privileged nominees to avoid stalling on a nominee before a final vote.

“The Partnership for Public Service encourages Congress to consider changes to the Senate confirmation process and the privileged calendar to help future administrations more quickly fill roles that are critical for a more effective government,” the report states.