Congress relinquishes its power to approve some presidential appointments

The House Tuesday passed a measure 261-114 to remove 200 presidential appointments from the Senate’s purview for confirmation hearings and votes.

It eliminates the requirement of Senate approval for such positions as rural utility services administrator, board directors of the commodity credit corporation, the assistant administrator for grant programs at FEMA, and assistant secretaries for management.

The bill originated in the Senate last year where it passed 79-20, and reduces the number of confirmations from 1,200 to 1,000.

Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.) said he voted against the measure because it was the constitutional duty of the other body to offer its advice and consent on those positions and that the president already controls 2,700 political appointees without congressional overview.

“Time and time again, the Obama administration has shown the American people it’s willing to abuse the power of the Oval Office,” Graves said. “Congress should absolutely not relinquish more power.”

Another position that will be eliminated from approval is the chief scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The nomination of Scott Doney to be that chief scientist was blocked last year after Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) put a hold on the position because of President Barack Obama’s moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Vitter’s hold ultimately forced Obama to remove Doney from consideration for the position earlier this year