Summary: S.679 — 112th Congress (2011-2012)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Public Law No: 112-166 (08/10/2012)

(This measure has not been amended since it was passed by the Senate June 29, 2011. The summary of that version is repeated here.)

Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act of 2011 - (Sec. 2) Eliminates the requirement of Senate approval (advice and consent) of specified presidentially-appointed positions in federal agencies and departments, as follows:

  • Department of Agriculture: (1) Assistant Secretary for Administration, (2) Administrator of the Rural Utilities Services, and (3) all members of the Board of Directors of the Commodity Credit Corporation;
  • Department of Commerce: Chief Scientist, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA);
  • Department of Defense (DOD): (1) all members of the National Security Education Board, and (2) Director of the Selective Service System;
  • Department of Education: (1) Assistant Secretary for Management, and (2) Commissioner for Education Statistics;
  • Department of Health and Human Services (HHS): Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs;
  • Department of Homeland Security (DHS): (1) Director of the Office for Domestic Preparedness, (2) Assistant Administrator for Grant Programs, Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), (3) Administrator of the U.S. Fire Administration, (4) Director of the Office of Counternarcotics Enforcement, (5) Chief Medical Officer, and (6) Assistant Secretaries for Health Affairs, Legislative Affairs, and Public Affairs;
  • Housing and Urban Development (HUD): Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs;
  • Department of Justice (DOJ): (1) Directors of the Bureaus of Justice Statistics and Justice Assistance, (2) Director of the National Institute of Justice, (3) Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and (4) Director of the Office for Victims of Crime;
  • Department of Labor: (1) Assistant Secretaries for Administration and Management and for Public Affairs, and (2) Director of the Women's Bureau;
  • Department of State: Assistant Secretaries for Public Affairs and for Administration;
  • Department of Transportation (DOT): (1) Assistant Secretaries for Budget and Programs and for Administration, (2) Deputy Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and (3) Administrator of the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation;
  • Department of the Treasury: (1) Assistant Secretaries for Public Affairs and for Management, and (2) Treasurer of the United States;
  • Department of Veterans Affairs (VA): Assistant Secretaries for Management, for Human Resources and Administration, for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs, and for Operations, Security, and Preparedness;
  • Appalachian Regional Commission: Alternative Federal Co-Chairman;
  • Council of Economic Advisers: all members, except the Chairperson;
  • Corporation for National and Community Service: Managing Director;
  • National Council on Disability: all members, including the Chairperson;
  • National Museum and Library Services Boards: all members;
  • National Science Foundation (NSF): all Board members;
  • Office of National Drug Control Policy: Deputy Directors;
  • Office of Navajo and Hopi Relocation: Commissioner;
  • United States Agency for International Development (USAID): Assistant Administrator for Management;
  • Community Development Financial Institution Fund: Administrator;
  • Mississippi River Commission: all Commissioners;
  • National Board for Education Sciences: all members;
  • National Institute for Literacy Advisory Board: all members; and
  • Board of Trustees of the Institute of American Indian and Alaska Native Culture and Arts Development: all members.

Eliminates the positions of Assistant Secretary of Defense for Networks and Information and for Public Affairs.

Eliminates the requirement of Senate approval of all appointments to and promotions for the Commissioned Officer Corps in the Public Health Service and in NOAA.

Provides that removal of the requirement of Senate confirmation of any position in this Act shall not result in any such position being placed in the Senior Executive Service or alter compensation for such position.

Sec. 3) Expands the requirements for the appointment of a Director of the Census, including that such appointment be made without regard to political affiliation and that the appointee have a demonstrated ability in managing large organizations and experience in the collection, analysis, and use of statistical data. Limits the Director's term to five years, beginning on December 1, 2012, and prohibits a Director from serving more than two full terms. Authorizes the President to remove the Director from office after communicating in writing the reasons for removal to Congress not later than 60 days before the removal.

(Sec. 4) Establishes the Working Group on Streamlining Paperwork for Executive Nominations (Working Group) to study and report to the President and specified congressional committees on the streamlining of paperwork required for executive nominations and review the impact of background investigations requirements on the appointments process. Requires that the report of the Working Group include: (1) recommendations for the streamlining of paperwork required for executive nominations, and (2) a detailed plan for the creation and implementation of an electronic system for collecting and distributing background information from nominees for positions which require Senate approval. Requires such electronic system to provide for less of a burden on potential nominees for positions which require Senate approval, faster delivery of background information, fewer errors of omission, and a single, searchable form (Smart Form) that will be free to a nominee, will be easy to use, and will streamline the process of vetting a nominee and tracking information provided by a nominee.

(Sec. 5) Requires the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study and report to Congress and the President on presidentially-appointed positions that do not require Senate approval.

(Sec. 6) Makes the provisions of this Act relating to Senate approval of presidential appointments effective 60 days after enactment and makes the other provisions effective upon enactment.