The Senate Judiciary on Thursday approved legislation that would extend FBI Director Robert S. Mueller’s term for two years.
The vote 11-7, paves the way for Congress to approve the extension, something that seems certain to happen. The legislation must be approved by the House and the Senate.
Mueller was appointed by President Bush in 2001 and was supposed to complete his 10-year term this September.
But the White House decided it wanted him to stick around another two years, a move that requires legislation. The current law limits the director to 10 years.
Some members of the committee had raised concerns about constitutional challenges the extension might create.
But Sen. Patrick Leahy of the committee issued a statement Thursday saying:
“The fact that this extension was requested by the President and will take effect only because the President has decided to ask Director Mueller to stay on removes any implication that this legislation somehow offends the Appointments Clause of the Constitution. It does not.”
“There is no effort here by Congress to usurp the President’s appointing authority. What we propose is constitutional and consistent with the powers previously exercised by Congress. We are extending a term of a presidential appointment.”