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Lawmakers Hope Appointment Process Gets Streamlined

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The appointment process on Capitol Hill has been gummed up in a partisan stalemate for years.
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The appointment process on Capitol Hill has been gummed up in a partisan stalemate for years.

This week, Congress approved legislation to fast track some executive branch nominees that were bottled up in Congress. Even so, lawmakers in the region are still hoping for further reforms.

This is one of the most hyper-partisan Congresses of all time and that's left many key posts in the Obama Administration unfilled. But this week, lawmakers quietly approved legislation that removes the Senate confirmation requirement for around 170 executive branch officials, meaning many federal workers in the region are about to get some new supervisors.

Virginia Democrat Gerry Connolly says it's a step in the right direction. "Anything we can do to streamline the process so that whoever is president can fill his administration or her administration with qualified candidates is a good thing for the country."

But some executive branch nominees will continue to linger for months and months. Both parties delay the other party's nominees in order to effectively kill their chances of being confirmed. Connolly says that needs to change.

"People are at least entitled, it seems to me, to an up or down vote in most circumstances," says Connolly.

About 1,000 government positions continue to require Senate confirmation and about a quarter of the time those posts are filled by acting officials or left empty.

NPR

At 81, Disney's First African-American Animator Is Still In The Studio

First hired in the 1950s, Floyd Norman is still drawing. "Creative people don't hang it up," he says. "We don't walk away, we don't want to sit in a lawn chair. ... We want to continue to work. "
NPR

America's Real Mountain Of Cheese Is On Our Plates

To help dairy farmers hurt by a glut, the USDA said this week it'll buy $20 million worth of cheese and give it to food banks. But we eat so much of the stuff, that's hardly a drop in the bucket.
WAMU 88.5

Friday News Roundup - International

Italy searches for survivors after a devastating earthquake. Turkey escalates its role in the fight against ISIS. And Colombia and the FARC rebels sign a peace treaty ending a half-century-long guerrilla war. A panel of journalists joins guest host Derek McGinty for analysis of the week's top international news stories.

NPR

WhatsApp Will Start Sharing Data, Including Phone Numbers, With Facebook

It will also test new ways for businesses to communicate with users on the app. The privacy policy changes mark the long-expected move by Facebook to begin making money from the free app.

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