Center Blog

Batches for Success

November 22, 2016

Marc Reiter, Fellow and Gwynne Kostin, Senior Advisor, Center for Presidential Transition

Getting an administration’s team in place quickly is critical to an effective transition and the ability of a new president to effectively govern. We’ve written about it here, here, here, and here. Another strategy to help improve the efficiency of the nomination process that we haven’t discussed is batching.

Batching involves the president nominating and grouping high-level political appointees for an agency or a policy area. The goal is for the Senate to consider and confirm leadership teams as a group rather than individuals separately, giving the appointees a head start in planning and implementing the new administration’s priorities.

The process involves vetting and nominating sets of nominees for consideration by Senate committees with jurisdiction, and shepherding those individuals together through the confirmation process. Although the Senate may not approve all nominees on the same day, the hope is that they will considered simultaneously and confirmed within days of one another.

This process has been used effectively in the past.

1. Obama Administration Defense Team, 2009

President Obama sent four appointments for the Department of Defense to the Senate on January 20, 2009.

Position Appointee Confirmation Date
Under Secretary of Defense, Policy Michele A. Flournoy 2/9/09
Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) Robert F. Hale 2/9/09
General Counsel, Defense Department Jeh C. Johnson 2/9/09
Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn 2/11/09

“I am confident that these distinguished individuals have the expertise and commitment needed to help me implement a sustainable national security strategy that combats 21st century threats and keeps the American people safe,” Obama said. – Source CBS News

2. Clinton Administration Economic Team, 1993

President Clinton sent six appointments for his economic team to the Senate on January 20, 1993.

Position Appointee Confirmation Date
Secretary of the Treasury Lloyd Bentsen 1/20/93
Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Roger Altman 1/21/93
Director of OMB Leon Panetta 1/21/93
Deputy Director of OMB Alice Rivlin 1/21/93
Chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisors Laura Tyson 2/4/93
Secretary of Labor Robert B. Reich 1/21/93

“President-elect Bill Clinton began to give shape to his Cabinet today with the appointment of an economic team of old hands from Washington and Wall Street to help him fulfill his campaign promise of fundamental economic change. The distinctly mainstream array of advisers that Mr. Clinton introduced at the old Arkansas State House, led by Senator Lloyd Bentsen of Texas as Treasury Secretary, seemed intended to mobilize lawmakers and executives behind his economic program, and to signal that the Clinton Administration will be as serious about reducing the deficit as about any new spending programs.” – Source New York Times

3. Clinton Administration – Department of Agriculture Team – 1993

Four appointments for the Clinton team at USDA were received by the Senate on April 19, 1993.

Position Appointee Confirmation Date
Assistant Secretary of USDA for Natural Resources and the Environment James Lyons 5/11/93
Deputy Secretary of USDA/Member, Commodity Credit Corp. Richard Rominger 5/11/93
Under Secretary of USDA, Rural Development/Member, Commodity Credit Corp. Bob Nash 5/11/93
Assistant Secretary of USDA for Administration Wardell Townsend 5/11/93

4. Clinton Administration – Veterans’ Affairs Team – 1993

Four appointments for Department of Veterans Affairs were received by the Senate on April 27, 1993.

Position Appointee Confirmation Date
Director of the National Cemetery System Jerry Bowen 5/20/93
General Counsel, Veterans Administration Mary Lou Keener 5/20/93
Assistant Secretary of Veterans Administration, Congressional Affairs D. Mark Catlett 5/20/93

5. Bush 41 Administration – Foreign Policy Team – 1989

The George H.W. Bush administration sent four appointments for his foreign policy team to the Senate on February 8, 1989. All four were confirmed on March 1.

Position Appointee Confirmation Date
DUnder Secretary of State, Political Affairs Robert Kimmitt 3/1/89
Assistant Secretary of State, Public Affairs Margaret Tutwiler 3/1/89
Assistant Secretary of State, Legislative Affairs Janet Mullins 3/1/89
Counselor, Department of State Robert Zoellick 3/1/89

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