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Monday, February 11, 2013

Presidential Appointments to Full-Time Positions in Independent and Other Agencies During the 111th Congress

Maeve P. Carey
Analyst in Government Organization and Management

Michael W. Greene
Information Research Specialist

Maureen Bearden
Information Research Specialist

This report explains the process for filling positions to which the President makes appointments with the advice and consent of the Senate (also referred to as PAS positions). It also identifies, for the 111th Congress, all nominations to full-time positions requiring Senate confirmation in 40 organizations in the executive branch (27 independent agencies, 6 agencies in the Executive Office of the President (EOP), and 7 multilateral organizations) and 4 agencies in the legislative branch. It excludes appointments to executive departments and to regulatory and other boards and commissions, which are covered in other reports.

The appointment process for advice and consent positions consists of three main stages. The first stage is selection, clearance, and nomination by the President. This step includes preliminary vetting, background checks, and ethics checks of potential nominees. At this stage, the President may also consult with Senators who are from the same party if the position is located in a state. The second stage of the process is consideration of the nomination in the Senate, most of which takes place in committee. Finally, if a nomination is approved by the full Senate, the nominee is given a commission signed by the President and sworn into office.

During the 111
th Congress, President Barack Obama submitted to the Senate 106 nominations to full-time positions in independent agencies, agencies in the Executive Office of the President (EOP), multilateral agencies, and legislative branch agencies. Of these 106 nominations, 91 were confirmed, 1 was withdrawn, and 14 were returned to him in accordance with Senate rules. For those nominations that were confirmed, an average of 92.8 days elapsed between nomination and confirmation.

The President made five recess appointments to full-time positions in independent agencies during the 111
th Congress.

Information for this report was compiled from data from the Senate nominations database of the Legislative Information System at, the Congressional Record (daily edition), the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, telephone discussions with agency officials, agency websites, the United States Code, and the 2008 “Plum Book” (United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions).

Date of Report: January 22, 2013
Number of Pages: 49
Order Number: R42932
Price: $29.95

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