Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., introduced the Accountability for Acting Officials Act on May 1 to limit acting officials from serving for more than 120 days from the date of the vacancy.

The legislation, a modification to the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, also requires acting officials to testify before Congress at least once every 60 days, requires acting inspectors general to have relevant experience and qualifications, and closes other acting official loopholes.

“The current crisis highlights how important it is that government leaders are qualified and answer to the American people,” Porter said of the act. “President Trump has shown time and again that he doesn’t believe in the accountability that comes from our constitutionally required nomination process.”

The Accountability for Acting Officials Act has already gained eight co-sponsors: Reps. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., Adam Smith, D-Wash., Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., Gerry Connolly, D-Va., Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Mark Takano, D-Calif.

“The administration’s longstanding failure to fill critical vacancies across the Federal government—including vacancies that go back several years—has deprived agencies of stable, vetted leadership and aggravated the current pandemic crisis,” Maloney, the Chairwoman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, said. “This bill would institute critical reforms to require stability, expertise, and accountability when it is necessary for an administration to fill a vacancy temporarily.”

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Katie Malone
Katie Malone
Katie Malone is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.