Senate Moves to Streamline Confirmation Process

By JIM ABRAMS | June 22, 2011 | 12:44 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Many would-be federal office holders will be freed from nomination limbo with legislation to exempt some 200 presidential appointees from going through the Senate confirmation process.

The legislation on the Senate floor would help clear up a backlog of stalled nominations that can result in posts going vacant for months. The Senate currently must vote on at least 1,200 appointees.

The bill is the outcome of a compromise reached between Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican leader Mitch McConnell last January on ways to reduce the often partisan impediments that had brought the Senate to a near-standstill. Democrats agreed to give Republicans more chances to offer amendments in exchange for a GOP promise to filibuster less.

A companion measure streamlines the confirmation process for 250 part-time positions.