By Megan R. Wilson - 02/27/13 09:32 PM EST
Acting heads of agencies “don’t make any big decisions,” Cal Mackenzie, a professor of government at Colby College, told the publication. “Your authority is not going to be recognized in the same way a Senate-confirmed appointee is going to be recognized.”
The investigation found that 11 percent of presidential appointed positions were vacant at the end of Clinton’s first term, 10 percent in of Bush’s first term and 13 percent at the conclusion of Obama’s first term. The three-percentage-point increase translates into “dozens” of vacant positions, the article says.
The Federal Election Commission has five commissioners serving on expired terms, and several agencies are operating under acting directors – including the Office of Management and Budget. Though Obama nominated the acting head, B. Todd Jones, of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to become its director last month, the agency has been without a formal leader for about seven years.
Obama came under fire from Republicans for his recess appointments of the National Labor Relations Board – which were recently struck down in court – and Richard Cordray, the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
While the president has been slow to nominate and appoint federal government officials, the Senate has also been wary of approving his picks.
The article points out that Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is only the third cabinet member whose appointment is held up because of a filibuster.
All told, the president has to fill more than 1,000 positions, the article says.