After 500 days, hundreds of White House jobs remain unfilled by Trump administration

President Donald Trump speaks following a meeting from a North Korean delegation on the South Lawn of the White House on June 1, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images
President Donald Trump speaks following a meeting from a North Korean delegation on the South Lawn of the White House on June 1, 2018 in Washington, DC.

On his 500th day in office, President Donald Trump tweeted a list of accomplishments that he said "many believe" is longer than any other president.

One list that remains longer than most of his recent predecessors is the number of White House positions that remain unfilled.

After more than 16 months in office, the Trump administration has yet to fill hundreds of key jobs that require Senate confirmation. The delays are longer than for any of the last six administrations.

Trump has complained bitterly about stonewalling by Democrats, who withheld support early on for many of the president's Cabinet-level nominees. Half of Trump's Cabinet picks were approved by slim majorities. Education Secretary Betsy Devos, for example, required a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence.

But Democrats in Congress say they can't stall nominations that haven't been made.

As of Monday, the White House had yet to put forward the names of candidates for 204 of the 665 key positions that require Senate confirmation, according to the Partnership for Public Service, a nonpartisan group that advises incoming administrations.

The longest list of empty desks waiting to be filled is at the State Department, where more than 40 top jobs are vacant. Dozens of ambassadors appointed by the Obama administration were fired by Trump on Inauguration Day and have yet to be replaced.

The unfilled jobs also include key positions throughout the executive branch charged with rooting out waste, fraud and abuse. Despite Trump's campaign vows to "drain the swamp," his administration has been slow to hire agency watchdogs, known as inspectors general, tasked with reviewing the way the government conducts its business and spends taxpayers' money.

Of the 73 inspector general offices housed in various government agencies and departments, 13 of them are vacant or lead by temporary appointees, according to the Project on Government Oversight, an independent watchdog group.

The list of empty IG offices includes the departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Energy and Interior, as well as the Social Security Administration, the U.S. Postal Service and the CIA.

Together they oversee federal spending of some $2 trillion, according to a CNBC analysis of data from government sources, including, a website operated by the Treasury Department.

The inspector general role was established by Congress in 1976 in an effort to curb waste, fraud and abuse in what is now the sprawling Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees Medicare, Medicaid and other social assistance programs. The role has since expanded to review spending and operations at dozens of government departments and agencies.

Not all of the empty IG jobs are Trump's responsibility; six nominees are awaiting approval from Congress. Two of the agencies with IG vacancies, the Postal Service and the Federal Election Commission, offer up their own nominations for congressional approval.


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