Senate seeks to end requirement to confirm U.S. treasurer

Published : 07/16/11
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The Senate has passed a bill that removes the requirement that the treasurer of the United States be confirmed by the Senate.

The position of the Director of the Mint will continue to require the Senate’s regular confirmation process although an earlier version of the same bill sought to remove the Senate approval requirement.

The Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act of 2011 — S. 679 — was introduced by Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., on March 30. It passed the Senate on June 29 by a vote of 79 to 20. The bill was introduced as a timesaving measure to eliminate the need for executive nominees to be confirmed by the whole Senate and would allow the process to occur at the committee level.

The legislation would reduce the number of presidential appointees requiring Senate confirmation from about 1,200 (excluding judges) to around 1,030. In the past several decades, the number of appointments requiring full Senate confirmation has grown exponentially. During the John F. Kennedy presidential administration, only about 280 executive branch positions required Senate approval.

If S. 679 becomes law, about 170 executive branch appointees with roles that do not involve policy making would be exempt from confirmation. The bill’s current status as of July 5 is “held at desk,” meaning that the bill has passed the Senate, but has not been referred to a committee in the House of Representatives. The bill must be passed by the House and be signed into law by the president before it becomes law.

When the bill was introduced, the director of the Mint was included as a position that would not need Senate approval. Senate Amendment 503 was submitted by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., on June 22 to strike the provision in the bill relating to the director of the Mint. The amendment was considered by the Senate on June 28 and was agreed to by unanimous consent that same day.

Sen. Paul withdrew an amendment that would have required the U.S. treasurer to continue to go through the regular Senate process.

The current U.S. treasurer, Rosie Rios, was sworn in on Aug. 20, 2009, and her signature appears on Federal Reserve notes. The Treasurer advises the secretary of the Treasury on matters relating to coinage and paper currency, and has responsibility over the U.S. Mint and Bureau of Engraving and Printing, among other duties.

Richard A. Peterson was named deputy director of the U.S. Mint on Jan. 25. In his role as acting director, he did not need to be nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate.

The last Mint director, Edmund C. Moy, tendered his resignation from his position on Dec. 21, 2010. Moy was the 38th Mint director and was appointed by President George W. Bush for a five-year term. ■

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