This morning, by a vote of 79-20, the Senate passed S. 679, the Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act of 2011, a measure that will significantly reduce the number of executive positions subject to Senate confirmation.

Specifically, a third of the current Senate confirmable positions—all minor posts—will now either not require confirmation at all or enjoy a streamlined confirmation process. Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Joe Lieberman (I-CT), and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) deserve praise for championing the legislation, which will help ease the backlog of nominations and free up senators’ time to focus on other important legislative business.