Portman wants to retain Senate confirmation for financial officials

"The practical importance of Senate confirmation is that it gives individuals the stature and credibility they often need to do their jobs effectively," Portman said.

"I don't believe we want a situation in which [a] Energy Department's Assistant Secretary … is a Senate-confirmed appointee, and yet the CFO down the hall, who is frankly supposed to be directing this person in terms of financial management, is not."

In his remarks, co-sponsoring Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) referred to the comptrollers of the Army, Navy and Air Force, who would remain Senate-confirmed under the amendment in addition to the 16 major departmental CFOs.

"I believe that removing these key [comptroller] positions from the Senate confirmation process will inadvertently undermine the effort to reform financial management at the Department of Defense," he said. 

Cornyn cited informal feedback from the Office of the DOD Comptroller in support of the amendment.

This post was updated at 6:33 p.m.