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President Signs Bill Simplifying Some Appointments: President Obama signed legislation into law that allows the White House to make some political appointments, including certain Pentagon positions, without requiring the Senate's approval. The Presidential Appointment and Efficiency and Streamlining Act of 2011—signed on Aug. 10—will reduce the number of positions requiring Senate confirmation by one-third, or roughly 170 executive positions and 3,000 officer corps positions, according to a release from Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.). The law is meant to help eliminate the backlog of Presidential nominations awaiting confirmation. Defense Department positions that fall under the new law include: assistant defense secretary for networks and information integration; assistant defense secretary for public affairs, director of selective service system; six members of the National Security Education Board, and two members of the Council of Economic Advisers, according to Lieberman's release. Lieberman sponsored the Senate's version of the bill, S. 679, along with Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.). (Legislation full text; caution, large-sized file.)