George W. Bush photo

Statement on Signing the Postal Civil Service Retirement System Funding Reform Act of 2003

April 23, 2003

Today I have signed into law S. 380, the Postal Civil Service Retirement System Funding Reform Act of 2003. The Act reforms the funding of benefits under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) for employees of the United States Postal Service.

Under the Appointments Clause of the Constitution, including as construed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1997 in Edmond v. United States, statutory authority to make decisions for the United States that are final must be exercised by, or subject to the control of, a principal officer of the United States. Sections 2(c) and 3(b) of the Act vest in certain circumstances in the CSRS Board of Actuaries (Board) authority to reconsider, review, and make adjustments with finality in certain determinations, redeterminations, and computations made by the Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Yet, Board members are not principal officers because they have not been appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, as the Appointments Clause requires. They have instead been appointed by the Director of OPM in accordance with law. Moreover, the Board is not subject to the control of a principal officer in conducting the review, reconsideration, and adjustments for which sections 2(c) and 3(b) of the Act provide, because those sections make such Board action final. Accordingly, to the extent that sections 2(c) and 3(b) make the actions of the Board under those sections final, they are inconsistent with the Appointments Clause.

The Director of OPM shall prepare forthwith for submission to the Congress recommended legislation to conform statutes related to the CSRS Board of Actuaries to the Appointments Clause. While awaiting enactment of corrective legislation, I instruct the Director of OPM, who is a principal officer, to receive any results of reconsideration, review, or adjustments by the Board under sections 2(c) and 3(b) of the Act as advice and opinion for the Director's approval, modification, or disapproval. This instruction gives the fullest effect to the Act that is consistent with the Appointments Clause.

Sections 2(e)(1), 3(e)(1), and 3(f)(1)(B) of the Act purport to require officials in the executive branch to submit recommendations to the Congress or an agent of the Congress. The executive branch shall construe such provisions in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President to submit for the consideration of the Congress such measures as the President judges necessary and expedient.


The White House,

April 23, 2003.

NOTE: S. 380, approved April 23, was assigned Public Law No. 108-18.

George W. Bush, Statement on Signing the Postal Civil Service Retirement System Funding Reform Act of 2003 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Simple Search of Our Archives