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First Gov  

September 24, 1998

S. 2176 - Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998
(Thompson (R) TN and 6 cosponsors)

The Administration cannot support S. 2176 as reported by the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee. S. 2176 would revise the process set forth in the Vacancies Act for filling vacancies in positions that are subject to Presidential appointment and Senate confirmation. If the bill is not amended to address the Administration's concerns below and more fully described in the attached Erskine Bowles 7/28/98 letter to the Senate, the President's senior advisers would recommend that he veto the bill.

S. 2176 threatens the ability of the Executive branch to fulfill its statutory and constitutional obligations. This threat arises, in particular, because the bill would: (1) too narrowly limit who can serve in an "acting" capacity; (2) provide no safety valve for instances in which the bill might interfere with critical duties pertaining to national security, criminal law enforcement, public health and safety, the stability of financial markets, and the oversight of financial institutions; and (3) provide insufficient time to fill positions, especially at the beginning of an Administration.