Cut Back on the Number of Senate Confirmation Sought

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President Obama is still fortunate he has gained several Senate confirmations to his appointees in just a matter of two months. Unlike Bill Clinton and George Bush which took 10 months or so before they have finally completed their roll of nominees to be confirmed by the Legislative body. Today, an emerging reform is staring to uproot and is spearheaded by Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander (R) calling for a slash in the number of Presidential appointees that needed to be confirmed by the Senate - a process that had been practiced by the US government since the 19th century to advance the principle of check and balance in the government.

Senate confirmations had been a major obstacle that every President must be able to surpass. While elected positions are guaranteed to not be touched by the Senate as this body is as well elected and that positions are directly filled in by constituents votes, appointed positions particularly in the executive branch and the judicial branch that is made by the President must always pass on the scrutiny of the Senate committee. The hunch here is not the confirmation itself but by the process it actually uses. Each nominee must undergo a background check and not just a simple background investigation over the internet but a specifically detailed investigation that should be conducted by the FBI. This additional burden or say procedure was mandated by then President Eisenhower through an Executive Order.

An investigation usually takes for about weeks or months before a report can be finalized by the FBI. Investigation consists of neighborhood interviews, tax record checking, criminal records checking, education verification, and even small things in the past of the appointee. Hillary Clinton was not confirmed during the Obama inauguration for the reason that her husband, then Pres. Bill Clinton's charitable foundation could pose international problem and a conflict of interest. Other Senators said that it could also be a hole in which bribery can pass through which would somehow ruin the integrity of the Secretary, the Department, and the Executive Branch.

The confirmation process of the Senate Committee which involves background checking is nevertheless a wrong process; it is even proven to be beneficial as it can freeze nominees that do not deserve the positions. However, the same process can shoo away better candidates that chose to decline a nomination for the reason that it may tackle their very private lives and might be used to turn them down in the political arena. Today, there are 1,141 positions that needed to be filled in by the President and should be confirmed by the Senate. These positions include sub-secretary positions and other field positions. For this reason, a year could somehow be the best timeframe for all seats be confirmed - but a year of incomplete Executive Roster could lead to some delays in the operation of the administration.

Well, Senator Alexander's proposal is not specifically dumping background check investigation to presidential appointees rather by subtracting the number of appointees that are bound to this process from 1,141 to a smaller number. Accordingly, the proposal would tend to say that only those head of the department and the cabinet must be subject to strict scrutiny.

Maybe the good senator should propose too that private background check companies are far way better, faster, and cheaper than those done by the FBI. At least the government can have a try.

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