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Senate Votes to Streamline Appointments

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The Senate voted 79-20 Wednesday to reduce the number of politically appointed positions requiring Senate approval.

The measure introduced in March, removes about 200 appointed jobs from the list of about 1,400 that Senators must currently approve.

The bill was backed by a bipartisan group of senators, including Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., and Susan Collins, R-Maine. It also won the support of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

A separate measure working its way through the Senate would provide a more streamlined process for about 250 other positions, in which the nominations would go directly to the Senate floor if no senator objected. Those positions are mostly part-time slots on federal commissions and boards.

When the measures were introduced, Alexander said, "this bipartisan effort will free up the Senate so it can focus on our country's most urgent needs of reducing spending and debt, rather than on confirming hundreds of junior and part-time positions in any president's administration, like the public-relations officer of a minor department. The Senate will still continue to confirm about a thousand presidential nominees - nearly four times as many appointees as President Kennedy had."

Tom Shoop is vice president and editor in chief at Government Executive Media Group, where he oversees both print and online editorial operations. He started as associate editor of Government Executive magazine in 1989; launched the company’s flagship website, GovExec.com, in 1996; and was named editor in chief in 2007.

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