Senate to Clear Path for Clinton’s Confirmation

Posted December 10, 2008 at 3:38pm

The Senate is expected to pass legislation as early as later today resetting the secretary of State’s salary to 2007 levels, clearing the way for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) to take the reins of the State Department in the next administration, Senate aides said.

Under the Constitution, Senators and Members of the House are barred from taking appointments to the executive branch if the position’s salary was increased during the last Congressional session prior to their nomination. Although designed to keep lawmakers from using the power of the purse to set up well-paying executive branch jobs, it has also been an impediment for nominees who would see no real financial gain in accepting a top administration post.

Although some conservative activists had demanded Clinton be blocked from accepting the secretary of State position, the bill is not considered controversial. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) hotlined the measure Tuesday to gauge opposition. With no lawmakers raising objections to advancing the legislation, Reid and McConnell will move the bill by unanimous consent, aides said, predicting action as early as tonight.