The Vacancies Act - And NASA Management (Update)

How the Trump era is changing the federal bureaucracy, Washington Post

"The clock ran out for hundreds of acting officials in November when a little-known law called the Vacancies Act - designed to spur presidents to staff their government - kicked in, limiting them from making official decisions. The law allows acting officials to serve for up to 300 days, at which point they must yield their authority to the agency head, unless the president has nominated someone to the job. An official action taken in violation of the law could face a legal challenge."

Keith's note: If I understand this correctly, Acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot could technically get caught up in this. Rep. Bridenstine's nomination was not carried over by the Senate - so the White House has to resubmit it - and sources report that they intend to do that. In the interim, one could argue that there is no active nomination for someone to head NASA. More than 300 days have passed since Lightfoot's appointment has passed (he assumed the position on 20 January 2017).

Keith's update: As I now understand things when Bridenstine's original nomination is returned to the White House by the Senate, the clock for temporary appointments (like Lightfoot's) is reset for another 210 days. When the White House resubmits Bridenstine's nomination to the Senate that clock will be reset again for 210 days from the date that he was renominated and will run until he is confirmed. If his second nomination is rejected, if he withdraws, or if it is not voted on and returned, then the clock is reset again for another 210 days.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on December 31, 2017 11:55 PM.

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