Nearly nine months into Joe Biden’s presidency, scores of senior executive-branch positions remain unfilled. Presidential nominations for more than 200 posts have not yet been announced, and more than 200 nominees await Senate confirmation. Republican politicians are much to blame for indiscriminately blocking votes on Biden’s picks, but the logjam also underscores a bigger problem with political appointments. There are far too many.

Out of 2 million federal employees, about 4,000 are appointed by the president, and roughly 1,200 of those require confirmation by the Senate. The appointments clause of the Constitution requires that the president seek the advice and consent of the Senate for all foreign ambassadors and principal government officers. Once mostly limited to cabinet secretaries, that second category now includes dozens of deputy secretaries and undersecretaries; 190 U.S. attorneys and marshals; 60 legal and oversight positions; and hundreds of independent agency officials, commissioners and policy-board members.

– This editorial was first published in Bloomberg.