Rep. Maloney Joins Katie Porter and House Committee Chairs in Reintroducing Bill to Close Loopholes in Federal Vacancies Law

May 4, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC - Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, this week joined with Committee Member and lead sponsor Congresswoman Katie Porter (D-CA) to reintroduce legislation to increase accountability for federal agency heads and other officials who have not been vetted by the Senate. The Accountability for Acting Officials Act would limit who can serve as an “acting” official and for how long, closing loopholes in the current law. The bill would also strengthen transparency and reporting requirements for acting officials.


Congresswoman Porter announced her intention to reintroduce the bill at yesterday’s Oversight and Reform Committee hearing entitled “Improving Government Accountability and Transparency.”


“I support this important bill, which would clarify and strengthen requirements around who can serve as an acting official, and for how long, when a Senate-confirmed position is vacant,” said Rep. Maloney. “The bill would also increase transparency with new requirements for agencies to notify Congress about vacancies and for acting officials to testify regularly before Congress.”


Other Committee and Subcommittee chairs joining Reps. Porter and Maloney in introducing the legislation include House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA), House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), House Oversight and Reform Committee’s Subcommittee on Government Operations Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D-VA), House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), and House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Mark Takano (D-CA).


This legislation earned the support of leading vacancies expert Anne Joseph O’Connell, who submitted written testimony for yesterday’s hearing. The bill is also supported by 14 leading good government groups from across the ideological spectrum, which sent a support letter in support of the bill.




The Accountability for Acting Officials Act would:


  • Limit acting agency heads to serving a maximum of 120 days from the date of the vacancy;
  • Require acting officials to testify before Congress at least once every 60 days;
  • Require acting Inspectors General to have relevant experience and qualifications; and
  • Close other loopholes that allow the President to appoint acting officials without experience in the agencies they lead.


You can find a copy of the bill text here.

You can find the one-pager here.