Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-Fla.) was nominated by President Bush to head the Central Intelligence Agency, pending confirmation of the Senate. Following is an explanation of the Senate confirmation process for Goss, in question and answer format:
When will the confirmation hearing begin?
Rep. Porter Goss
(Mannie Garcia - Reuters)
Hearing begins Tuesday, Sept. 14, at 10 a.m. and is open to the public.
Who will chair the hearing?
The chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), will conduct Rep. Goss's committee confirmation hearing. The committee's vice chairman is Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.). The other Republican committee members include: Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (Utah), Sen. Mike Dewine (Ohio), Sen. Christopher S. Bond (Mo.), Sen. Trent Lott (Miss.), Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (Maine), Sen. Chuck Hagel (Neb.), Sen. Saxby Chambliss (Ga.) and Sen. John W. Warner (Va.). Democratic committee members include: Sen. Carl Levin (Mich.), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.), Sen. Richard J. Durbin (Ill.), Sen. Evan Bayh (Ind.), Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) and Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (Md.).
How many senators on the Intelligence Committee must approve Rep. Goss's confirmation for him to become director of the Central Intelligence Agency?
A simple majority of senators on the Intelligence Committee must first approve of Goss's appointment. Goss is a Republican, nominated by a Republican president, and if the vote were to fall along party lines, the Republicans hold a one-seat majority on the committee.
If Goss's appointment is approved in committee, how many votes are required in the full Senate to confirm his appointment?
A simple majority of senators must vote to approve Goss's appointment.
Are there any procedural tactics Democrats can employ to delay committee action or a full Senate vote?
Democrats may filibuster to block action by the Intelligence Committee. At least 60 senators must vote to break a filibuster. Currently in the Senate the Republicans hold a slim majority of 51 seats to Democrats' 48. Sen. James M. Jeffords of Vermont is an Independent who sides with Democrats. Vice President Cheney, as president of the Senate, holds a tie-breaking vote.
Does Goss's nomination also require the approval of the House of Representatives?
No. House confirmation is not required for this presidential appointment.
(Also See: Standing Rules of the Senate Rule XXXI: Executive Session - Proceedings on Nominations)