Which new presidential cabinet position require congressional approval?

  • The list of all politically appointed positions that mentions whether each requires Congressional approval is know as the "Plum Book" m.gpo.gov/plumbook Some positions in the White House office which are not generally considered "cabinet" positions do not require Congressional approval. – ohwilleke Dec 12 '16 at 16:57

All of them.

The "cabinet" refers to the heads of the executive departments listed at 5 USC 101. "Cabinet" isn't defined in the Constitution or legislation, but this interpretation is supported by the American Heritage Dictionary (cabinet), the Appointments Clause of the Constitution, and some discussion in Buckley v. Valeo, 424 US 1 (1976). All of these are consistent with an interpretation of "cabinet" to mean heads of departments of the executive branch.

All cabinet appointments require the advice and consent of the Senate (except for recess appointments).

The requirement for advice and consent of the Senate is given in individual statutes relating to each department. For the Secretary of State, for example, see 22 U.S. Code § 2651a (a) (2):

The Secretary, the Deputy Secretary of State, and the Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.

That statute also happens to require some deputies to gain the consent of the Senate.

For the Secretary of the Treasury, see 31 U.S. Code § 301:

[...] The Secretary is appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.

There are hundreds of non-cabinet positions that require the advice and consent of the Senate. These are presented in the report, "Presidential Appointee Positions Requiring Senate Confirmation and Committees Handling Nominations".

  • 2
    While the statutes explicitly say they need advice and consent, there's also an argument that the Constitution requires advice and consent. The Appointments Clause only allows Congress to vest the appointment of inferior officers in the President alone, the courts, or the heads of departments. If the members of the Cabinet are principal officers (which they probably are), they must be presidential appointments requiring advice and consent. – cpast Dec 11 '16 at 22:20
  • So the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) doesn't fall under the scope of congressional approval? – Noah Dec 12 '16 at 3:05

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