How do you become Director of the Mint? Part 3b: The Nomination and Confirmation

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Soon after the White House announces the President’s intent to nominate you to become the Director of the Mint, the President signs the nomination and it is delivered to the Senate.   At this point, you are officially nominated. View my nomination here.

When the Senate receives the nomination, the Senate Parliamentarian refers the nomination to a standing committee based on the committee’s jurisdiction.  For the Director of the Mint, the Senate Banking Committee has jurisdiction over the confirmation and oversight of the agency.  The Committee has the responsibility to gather and analyze information on the candidate.  Sometimes they have access to the FBI investigation, but for the most part, need to do their own research.

The Committee may conduct a hearing on the nomination, though Committee is not required to do so.  If there were a hearing, the candidate would be called to testify.

Whether the Committee holds a hearing, the Committee still must decide whether to report out the nomination to the full Senate.  This is a critical step that must happen in order for the Senate to consider the nomination on the Senate floor and vote on the nomination.  Nominations reported are then placed on the Senate’s Executive Calendar (a list of all nominations available for floor action), and after a day, a vote can take place.  With the recent rule changes by the Senate Democratic majority, a simple majority is needed to confirm almost all nominees except Supreme Court justices, which still require a supermajority of three-fifths vote.  A committee can report a nomination favorably, unfavorably, or without recommendation.

However, if the nomination is without controversy, there is another path.  If there is no interest by the entire United States Senate to debate or contest the nomination, the nomination can then come to the Senate floor as a unanimous consent (UC) agreement.  This process limits debate (eliminating the need for a super-majority vote) but the downside is that any Senator who raises an objection to a UC (known as a hold) can derail the nomination.

Finally, all this has to happen before the Senate recesses for more than 30 days.  If the nomination is not acted upon when the recess starts, all those nominations are returned to the President.  If the President still wants to the nominee to fill the vacancy, he has to resubmit those nominations to the Senate when it comes into session and the whole process must start over.

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