The U.S. House of Representatives approved a Senate-passed bill Wednesday making the Census
Bureau directorship a fixed, five-year term. Unfortunately the bill, S.
679, "The Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act of
2011," also removes Senate confirmation for the National Center for
Education Statistics Commissioner and the Bureau of Justice
Statistics Director. The bill now goes to President Obama for his signature.
For further details on the bill and its ramifications, see this May 12, 2011 blog entry, "Senate Bill gives Census Director a Fixed Five-year Term; Removes Senate Confirmation for BJS and NCES Heads." See also this June 23, 2011 blog entry, "Senate Rejects Amendment to Keep Senate Confirmation of BJS Director."
[8/24 addition to this blog entry:]
Jeff Mervis has an 8/21 Science Insider titled Ego v. Efficiency at the U.S. National Science Board that discusses the reaction to National Science Board members losing Senate Confirmation. Among the key quotes are the following:
- "some members are afraid that the law, designed to allow the Senate to operate more efficiently, will also diminish their clout in Washington policy circles."
- "Senate confirmation has also become a status symbol among some Washington bureaucrats: Those holding such positions are more likely to be called to testify before Congress, as well as granted access to internal discussions that are off-limits to lower-ranking colleagues. Removal of the confirmation requirement could be seen as diminution of influence."
Senator Carper's 8/23 press release: President Signs Bill to Reform Presidential Nominations Process