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上任不到三年,特朗普任命的代理部长数量超前任

Natasha Bach 2019年12月03日

在特朗普政府里当部长,不是件美差。

 
图片来源:GettyImages

美国总统唐纳德·特朗普上任不到三年,已经聘请了不下28名代理内阁部长,超过了克林顿时期的27名,以及奥巴马时期的23名。

斯坦福大学的一位法学教授安妮·约瑟夫·欧康奈尔解释说,启用代理内阁成员并不是什么新鲜事,总统们经常在其执政初期或在第二个任期开始时任命代职人员,而此时参议院则在执行批准流程。

但特朗普的代职内阁成员数量比他的前任还要多,尤其在他入主白宫后的第二和第三个年头更是如此。欧康奈尔强调,例如,特朗普在2018年有5名代职内阁成员,而克林顿只有两位,奥巴马当时为零。小布什总统在就任第二年时只有一位。

但鲜有迹象表明,特朗普将改变其策略。

自上次国土安全部负责人人选获批才过去200多天的时间,特朗普又宣布了一项临时替换决定:查德·沃尔夫。但国土安全部并非是唯一由代理部长领导的内阁部门。

内阁包括副总统和15位执行部门的负责人,涵盖农业部、商务部、国防部、教育部、能源部、卫生与公共服务部、国土安全部、房屋与城市发展部、内政部、劳工部、国务院、交通部、财政部和退伍军人事务部,以及司法部。

但每一位总统还有权将其他职务晋升为内阁成员或降级。例如,特朗普的内阁包括白宫幕僚长以及环保署、行政管理与预算办公室、美国贸易代表、中央情报局、国家情报主任办公室和小企业管理局。

很明显,未登上这份名单的部门包括历史上内阁的常驻成员美国驻联合国大使。特朗普认为这一职务在妮基·黑利于去年年底辞职之后便不再享有内阁级别待遇。

在特朗普当前的23名内阁成员中,有5名都是代职:白宫幕僚长米克·马尔瓦尼、国土安全部的沃尔夫、行政管理与预算办公室主任罗塞尔·沃特、国家情报主任办公室主任约瑟夫·马奎尔和小企业管理局负责人克里斯·皮尔克顿。数十名其他政府官员在过去几年中也曾经担任过代理职务。

然而,也有少数内阁成员从未做过“代理”一职。

桑尼·普度在特朗普当选那年的4月便一直担任农业部部长。商务部部长威尔伯·罗斯和教育部部长贝特西·迪沃斯自2017年2月以来便一直担任该职务。本·卡森自2017年1月便一直担任交通部部长,史蒂文·穆钦自2017年2月中旬便一直担任财政部部长。特朗普的能源部部长里克·佩里自2017年3月便出任这一职务,但据称他将在今年年底卸任。

这些人似乎摆脱了这一规则的约束。一直在跟踪政府机构人员变动的布鲁金斯学会研究员卡斯莱恩·腾帕斯指出,10名已确认的内阁成员在特朗普上台后已经离任。特朗普入主白宫后首年内的人员变动率要高于在他之前的五任总统。

当内阁成员离开时,法律明确规定了相应的流程:除了白宫幕僚长和副总统外,所有内阁级别的官员必须得到参议院的批准。

然而,1998年《联邦职务空缺改革法案》(Federal Vacancies Reform Act)制造了一个漏洞,能够让总统通过临时任命其它顶层联邦雇员来填补空缺。总统可在“执行机构官员……死亡、辞职或无法履行其功能和职责的情况下”进行任命。不过,总统只能任命该职务的继任者,例如其副职,或至少在有待替代的部长手下工作过90天的人员。

尽管在参议院批准总统的常任替代人选提名期间,该法律通常被作为一种空缺填补解决方案,但特朗普在上台后一直在大肆使用该法律来任命代理部长,而且没有直接制定相关计划,用参议院批准的人员来取代代理部长。

该法律在理论上将代理人员的任职期限限制为210天,但如果参议院在这一期间否决常任替代人选提名,那么这210天的期限将重新开始计算,因此代理部长实际上可以任职1年以上。这个210天的期限共计可以重启三次。

特朗普在1月表示:“我喜欢任命代理部长。此举能够提供更大的灵活性。你知道吗?我喜欢任命代理职务,这样我们便可以拥有少数代理部长,从而打造一个极好的内阁。”

纽约大学的一位公共服务教授保尔·莱特认为此举带来的并非是灵活性,而是“级别困惑。”有鉴于特朗普创纪录的代理职务任命,莱特说,“此举带来的是混乱、不确定性,往往给人一种无人或人人掌权的感觉,不过这似乎正是总统想要的。代理部长们缺乏能够让忧心忡忡的机构们感到放心的一个优势:参议院批准所确立的威信。”

腾帕斯认为,此举并非是出于行政管理的需要、进行深思熟虑之后做出的决策,而是“偶然为之”。她将特朗普对这种对代理内阁成员灵活性的喜好称之为站不住脚的主张,“因为他总是保持着这种灵活性——雇员为总统的喜好服务。他可以随心所欲地开除或重新任命这些职务。”此外,腾帕斯还认为,真正的问题在于招募,因为当前政府还在努力寻找能够获得参议院批准的称职候选人。

腾帕斯表示:“有鉴于穆勒的调查,总统对开除和侮辱高级别任命官员的喜好,以及如今的总统弹劾程序,当前并非是加入特朗普政府的好时候。”

让我们来了解一下特朗普入主白宫以来所任命的内阁级别代理负责人。

国防部

自国防部部长吉姆·马蒂斯在去年年底辞职之后,帕特里克·沙纳罕曾经担任国防部代理部长,于今年6月卸任。特朗普一开始提名他为该职务的常任人选,后来因为家庭暴力指控而撤销了这一提名。

马克·艾斯博在今夏曾经代理这一职务三周的时间,随后由理查德·斯宾塞接替了一周的时间,直到艾斯博在6月底得到了参议院的批准。

卫生与公共服务部

特朗普首个得到批准的卫生与公共服务部部长汤姆·普莱斯只待到了2017年9月。2018年1月之前,唐·怀特和埃里克·哈根先后担任代理部长,直到亚历克斯·阿扎获批成为了新部长。

国土安全部

最近离任代理部长的是麦克里南。在2017年7月约翰·克里离开这一部门转而担任特朗普的幕僚长之后,伊莱恩·杜克成为了代理继任,直到2017年12月克斯琴·尼尔森获得了批准。当克斯琴转而于今年4月辞职时,麦克里南填补了这一空缺。11月,查德·沃尔夫成为了新任代理部长。

内政部

大卫·彭哈特于今年4月获得批准担任内政部部长,此前曾经代理该职务数个月的时间。前任莱恩·辛克因为相关调查而于今年1月辞职。

劳工部

帕特里克·皮泽拉曾经于6月中旬到9月底担任代理部长,直到尤金·斯卡利亚获参议院批准担任新部长。皮泽拉的前任亚历山大·阿科斯塔因对10年前起诉杰弗里·爱普斯坦的性侵案件处理不当而辞职。

国务院

2018年3月,时任国务卿雷克斯·蒂勒森遭到解雇,当时,前中央情报局局长迈克·蓬佩奥获继任提名,并得到了参议院的通过。

退伍军人事务部

特朗普入主白宫后任命过两任退伍军人事务部代理部长。在特朗普于2018年3月解雇大卫·舒尔金之后,罗伯特·威尔基以及随后的皮特·欧洛克曾经担任代理部长,直到威尔基于2018年7月获批转正。

司法部部长

自杰夫·瑟辛斯辞职之后,马修·怀特克于去年11月开始担任代理司法部部长,直到威廉姆·巴尔获参议院批准。

白宫幕僚长

在幕僚长约翰·凯利辞职之后,米克·马尔瓦尼于今年年初开始担任代理幕僚长。凯利的前任是伦斯·普瑞布斯,他曾经于特朗普上台后第一年的前半年担任这一职务。

马尔瓦尼理论上还是行政管理与预算办公室主任,如今这一职务已经交给代理主任罗塞尔·沃特。有报道称,马尔瓦尼可能在不久后离任。

环境保护署

在斯考特·布鲁特于2018年7月离职之后,安德鲁·维勒一直担任代理负责人。今年2月底,他获参议院批准转正。

行政管理与预算办公室

尽管米克·马尔瓦尼仍然是名义上的主任,但罗塞尔·沃特自马尔瓦尼接任白宫幕僚长一职之后便一直担任代理一职。

美国贸易代表

继两名短暂的代职之后,罗伯特·莱特希泽于2017年5月开始担任美国贸易代表。

中央情报局

迈克·蓬佩奥自特朗普就职之后一直担任中央情报局局长,但自去年4月开始担任国务卿。接替他的是吉娜·哈斯佩尔,她在担任代职近一个月之后于2018年5月底获得参议院通过。

国家情报主任办公室

丹·寇茨于2017年3月以来一直担任局长一职,并于今年8月离任。特朗普最初宣布准备提名约翰·拉特克里夫接替寇茨,但随后撤销了这一提名,因为有报道称拉特克里夫夸大了其作为检察官的工作经历。约翰·马奎尔自8月中旬开始担任代理主任。

小企业管理局

琳达·麦克马洪于2017年2月开始担任小企业管理局局长,并于今年4月离职,担任特朗普2020超级政治行动委员会主席。克里斯·皮尔克顿自此之后一直担任代理局长。

美国驻联合国大使

在妮基·黑利去年年底辞去该职务之后,特朗普政府决定该职务将不再入选内阁成员名单。尽管如此,乔纳森·科罕从1月开始担任代理大使,并于8月中旬离任。凯利·克拉夫特在7月底获参议院通过,并于9月中旬上任。(钜富中国网)

译者:冯丰

审校:夏林

In the less than three years since President Donald Trump took office, he has had no less than 28 acting cabinet secretaries—more than the 27 total employed during President Bill Clinton’s eight years in office, and the 23 over the course of the Obama administration.

Relying on acting cabinet members is not unheard of by any means; presidents often use them at the beginning of their administration or at the start of their second term while the senate goes through the confirmation process, explains Anne Joseph O’Connell, a law professor at Stanford University.

But Trump’s cabinet has been filled by more acting secretaries than any of his predecessors—especially in his second and third years in office. O’Connell highlights that Trump had five in 2018, for example, compared to Clinton’s two, and Obama’s zero at the same time. President George W. Bush had one in his second year in office.

And there is little indication that Trump will change his tack.

More than 200 days since the Department of Homeland Security last had a confirmed secretary at its head, Trump announced yet another temporary replacement: Chad Wolf. But Homeland Security is far from the only cabinet office that has been led by an acting secretary.

The Cabinet includes the Vice President and the heads of 15 executive departments, including the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs, as well as the Attorney General.

But each president also has the power to elevate other positions to Cabinet-rank—or demote them. Trump’s Cabinet, for example, includes the White House Chief of Staff and heads of the Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Management and Budget, United States Trade Representative, Central Intelligence Agency, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and Small Business Administration.

Noticeably absent from this list is the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, a position that has historically been given cabinet rank. Trump decided that the role would no longer be a cabinet position following Nikki Haley’s exit at the end of last year.

Of the current 23 cabinet positions in the Trump administration, five are serving in an acting capacity: White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, DHS Secretary Wolf, OMB Director Russell Vought, DNI Joseph Maguire, and Small Business Administration head Chris Pilkerton. Dozens of other government officials have served as acting secretaries in the past couple of years.

Yet a few cabinet members have evaded the “acting” title.

Sonny Perdue has served as Secretary of Agriculture since April of Trump’s first year in office. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has served in that position since late February 2017 and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos since early February. Ben Carson has served as HUD Secretary since March 2017. Elaine Chao has served as Secretary of Transportation since January 2017, and Steven Mnuchin has been Treasury Secretary since mid-February of that year. And while Rick Perry, Trump’s Secretary of Energy, has served in that role since March 2017, he is reportedly due to resign before the end of the year.

These individuals appear to be the exception to the rule. According to Kathryn Tenpas, a fellow at the Brookings Institution who has been tracking turnover across government agencies, 10 confirmed cabinet members have left their positions during the Trump administration. The turnover rate of Trump’s first year in office is higher than all of his five immediate predecessors.

When a cabinet member departs, the law clearly defines the process: other than the White House Chief of Staff and the Vice President, all cabinet-level officials must be confirmed by the Senate.

The Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998, however, creates a loophole, allowing a president to temporarily fill vacancies with other top federal employees. These appointments can be made after an “officer of the Executive Agency...dies, resigns, or is otherwise unable to perform the functions and duties of the office.” But the president is limited to filling those vacancies with an individual who would otherwise be next in line for the position such as a deputy—or at least have served for 90 days under the secretary they would be replacing.

While this law has typically been used as a stopgap solution while the Senate is considering the president’s nomination for a permanent replacement, Trump has used the law numerous times since taking office, putting acting secretaries in place, without immediate plans to replace them with Senate-confirmed members.

The law technically limits how long someone can serve in an acting capacity at 210 days—but if the Senate rejects a nomination for a permanent replacement in that timeframe, the 210 day counter restarts, effectively allowing acting secretaries to remain in their role for more than a year. This 210 day counter can be restarted a total of three times.

“I like acting,” Trump said in January. “It gives me more flexibility. Do you understand that? I like acting. So we have a few that are acting. We have a great, great cabinet.”

Paul Light, a professor of public service at NYU, doesn’t see flexibility, but “rank confusion.” With Trump’s record-setting acting appointments, Light says that “the result is turmoil, uncertainty, and a general sense that no one and everyone is in charge, which is exactly what the president appears to prefer. Acting appointees lack the one thing that might calm anxious agencies, which is the credibility that comes with a Senate confirmation.”

Tenpas thinks that this has not so much been a deliberate decision on the part of the administration, but rather “one they stumbled upon.” She calls Trump’s contention of preferring the flexibility associated with acting cabinet members a dubious claim “since he always maintains flexibility—staff serve at the pleasure of the president. He can fire/reassign whenever he likes.” Rather, Tenpas suggests that recruitment could be the real issue, as the administration has struggled to find qualified candidates who could be confirmed.

“Given the Mueller investigation, the president’s penchant for firing and humiliating high level appointees, and now the impeachment process—it doesn’t seem like an opportune moment to join the administration,” Tenpas says.

Here’s a look at the acting heads of the various Cabinet-level positions over the course of Trump’s presidency.

Defense

Following Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ departure at the end of last year, Patrick Shanahan served as Acting Secretary of Defense until June of this year. Trump had initially nominated him to continue in the role on a permanent basis, but withdrew his nomination due to allegations of domestic violence.

Mark Esper then entered the role in an acting capacity for three weeks this summer, followed by Richard V. Spencer, who assumed the role for about a week, until Esper was confirmed in late July.

Health and Human Services

Trump’s first confirmed HHS Secretary, Tom Price, only stayed in the role until September 2017. Don Wright and Eric Hargan subsequently filled the role in acting capacities through late January 2018, at which time Alex Azar was confirmed as the new secretary.

Homeland Security

McAleenan was the most recent Acting DHS Secretary to leave the post. After John Kelly left the agency to become Trump’s Chief of Staff in July 2017, Elaine Duke was the Acting DHS Secretary until Kirstjen Nielsen was confirmed in December of that year. When she in turn resigned in April of this year, McAleenan filled the position. Chad Wolf was sworn in as the latest Acting DHS Secretary on November.

Interior

David Bernhardt, who was confirmed as Secretary of the Interior in April, served in an Acting capacity for several months prior. Ryan Zinke had previously served in the role, but resigned in January of this year amid investigations.

Labor

Patrick Pizzella served as Acting Labor Secretary from mid-July until late September, when Eugene Scalia was confirmed to the position. Alexander Acosta, who was Labor Secretary prior to Pizzella, resigned due to his involvement in a mishandled sex crimes case against Jeffrey Epstein a decade ago.

State

Rex Tillerson was fired as Secretary of State in March 2018, at which time Mike Pompeo, formerly Director of the CIA, was nominated and confirmed as his replacement.

Veterans Affairs

There have been two Acting Secretaries of Veterans Affairs under Trump. After Trump fired David Shulkin in March 2018, Robert Wilkie and then Peter O’Rourke served in acting capacities, until Wilkie was confirmed in July of that year.

Attorney General

Matthew Whitaker served as Acting Attorney General from November of last year after Jeff Sessions resigned, until February of this year, when William Barr was confirmed.

White House Chief of Staff

Mick Mulvaney has served as the Acting Chief of Staff since the start of the year, when then-Chief of Staff John Kelly stepped down. Kelly succeeded Reince Priebus, who served in the role for the first half of Trump’s first year as president.

Mulvaney is also technically the Director of the OMB, a role that is now being filled in an acting capacity by Russell Vought. And reports suggest that Mulvaney could be out before long.

Environmental Protection Agency

Andrew Wheeler served as the Acting head of the EPA after Scott Pruitt’s departure in July 2018, until late February of this year, when he was confirmed by the Senate.

Office of Management and Budget

While Mick Mulvaney is still the Director of the OMB in name, Russell Vought has served as Acting Director since Mulvaney stepped into the role of White House Chief of Staff.

United States Trade Representative

Following two short stints by acting members, Robert Lighthizer has served as U.S. Trade Representative since May 2017.

Central Intelligence Agency

Mike Pompeo, who has since become Secretary of State, served as Director of the CIA from the start of Trump’s presidency until April of last year. He was followed by Gina Haspel, who served in an acting capacity for nearly a month, before she was confirmed in late May 2018.

Office of the Director of National Intelligence

Dan Coats served as DNI from March 2017 until he stepped down in August of this year. Trump initially announced that he would nominate John Ratcliffe to replace Coats, but then quickly dropped him after reports revealed that Ratcliffe had overstated his record as a prosecutor. Joseph Maguire has instead served as Acting DNI since mid-August.

Small Business Administration

Linda McMahon served as Administrator of the Small Business Administration from February 2017 until leaving in April of this year to chair Trump’s 2020 Super PAC. In the months since, Chris Pilkerton has served in an acting capacity.

U. S. Ambassador to the UN

After Nikki Haley’s departure as Ambassador to the UN at the end of last year, the Trump administration chose not to make the role a Cabinet-level position. Nonetheless, Jonathan Cohen served in an acting capacity from January until mid-August. Kelly Craft, who was confirmed to the role in late July, began her post in mid-September.

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