Leadership

Archuleta confirmed to head OPM

Katherine Archuleta

Katherine Archuleta was confirmed to head the Office of Personnel Management by the Senate on Oct. 30 in a vote that was unusually partisan for a post that is typically considered noncontroversial.

The 62-35 vote was less indicative of any personal opposition to Archuleta than to lingering opposition from Republicans to an August OPM ruling that determined members of Congress and staffers can get employer-paid contributions to their health insurance premiums under the 2010 health care law. Members and some staffers are required to leave the Federal Employee Health Benefits Plans under a provision of the law.

The issue of whether members of Congress and staff would get insurance premium support paid by the government became an issue in the last days of the government shutdown, with lawmakers, notably Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), trying to get the Obama administration to require congressional employees to pay the full freight of their premiums.

"I'm not voting against this specific nominee," said Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) in a floor speech. "My concerns are with the way OPM determines who can ask questions and who can receive answers."

Notably, the leading Republicans on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which oversees OPM, voted against Archuleta, including Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, the ranking Republican on the pane, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Rob Portman of Ohio and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.

Eight Republicans voted to confirm Archuleta. No Democrats opposed her.

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, cheered the confirmation and scolded Republicans for holding up the vote. "Despite being qualified and ready to begin working, Ms. Archuleta's nomination was held up here in the Senate for months. It is critical that our agencies have leadership in place to help manage our federal government's workforce and ensure taxpayer dollars are being spent as efficiently as possible. Holding nominees for political purposes undermines these important efforts and is harmful to our nation," Carper said in an e-mailed statement.

Archuleta served as the national political director for President Barack Obama's 2012 reelection bid. Before that she was chief of staff to Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis. During the Clinton administration, she served in senior posts in the Transportation and Energy departments. She takes over for John Berry, who was confirmed as U.S. ambassador to Australia in August.

 

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy, health IT and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mr. Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian started his career as an arts reporter and critic, and has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, Architect magazine, and other publications. He was an editorial assistant and staff writer at the now-defunct New York Press and arts editor at the About.com online network in the 1990s, and was a weekly contributor of music and film reviews to the Washington Times from 2007 to 2014.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.

Featured

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1986, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

  • Shutterstock image.

    Merged IT modernization bill punts on funding

    A House panel approved a new IT modernization bill that appears poised to pass, but key funding questions are left for appropriators.

  • General Frost

    Army wants cyber capability everywhere

    The Army's cyber director said cyber, electronic warfare and information operations must be integrated into warfighters' doctrine and training.

  • Rising Star 2013

    Meet the 2016 Rising Stars

    FCW honors 30 early-career leaders in federal IT.

Reader comments

Thu, Oct 31, 2013

We are loosing people as I type but they want to argue of firing people then need to start with thos GOP and Senate people that cry over spilled milk. They do not want to make it a racist card but they already have. They just painted this country black and white and others. Sure hope they hve a fix for it. As for health care if they want to fire people why not start with them GOP.

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group