Dating back to the Reagan administration, every president has taken longer to fill part-time board and commission appointments than to fill all other Senate-confirmed positions.
During the Reagan administration, it took about a hundred days to appoint members to part-time boards and commissions; it has taken the Biden administration about 200 days.
Several part-time boards and commissions have experienced longer confirmation delays than others.
While the average time between nomination and confirmation for part-time board and commission nominees is almost seven months, some nominees have faced wait times of over a year, and in some cases much longer.
For example, the past three nominees confirmed to the Inter-American Foundation Board of Directors, a U.S. foreign assistance agency that invests in the development of Latin America and the Caribbean, had confirmation delays of at least six months. One nominee waited nearly a year and a half to be confirmed. These types of delays make it difficult for boards and commissions to operate effectively, meet their mission and serve the public.
Many part-time boards and commissions have been without confirmed members for several years.
Due to a lack of nominee submissions by the president and Senate confirmation delays, many part-time boards and commissions have not had appointees confirmed for several years.
The entities in the chart below have not had a nominee confirmed by the Senate since the George W. Bush or Barack Obama administrations. Without confirmations to fill vacated seats on these boards and commissions, many remain unfilled for extended periods. These vacancies may hamper work that Congress wants to prioritize or indicate that the positions are no longer needed.
Examples of Inactive Boards and Commissions
Several part-time boards and commissions struggle to meet their mission, short on members due to a lack of nominations or a difficult Senate confirmation process. As a result, the services offered by these entities suffer and key government functions stall.
Some examples include:
- Asset and Infrastructure Review Commission: This commission was created by the Mission Act of 2018 to review which Department of Veterans Affairs facilities are underused and could be closed, and to identify areas where the VA should consider building new facilities. President Donald Trump did not nominate anyone for this commission; President Joe Biden has submitted 10 nominations, but none of them have been confirmed, and the commission remains inactive.
- International Broadcasting Advisory Board: In December 2020, Congress expanded the size of this board from five to seven members and required that each be confirmed by the Senate. This was part of an effort to strengthen oversight of the Chief Executive Office of the U.S. Agency for Global Media. Since this change, President Biden has made 13 nominations to the board, but none of them have been confirmed, making it impossible for the board to operate.
- National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers Board of Directors: In January 2015, President Obama signed a law that created the National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers to oversee insurance licensing across states. While President Obama made 10 nominations to the board, none were confirmed and neither Presidents Trump nor Biden have followed up with their own nominations. As a result, the board has not been in operation since its creation.
- Advisory Board for Cuba Broadcasting: Since this board was established in 2000 to review the effectiveness of U.S. television broadcasting to Cuba, a total of nine individuals have been nominated to fill nine positions, and only four were confirmed. With the most recent nominee confirmed nearly 20 years ago, in June 2005, the board has become administratively inactive, with no meetings held, no money spent and no reports made.