House Oversight Committee Expresses Bipartisan Support for Cobert Nomination as OPM Head
Washington, D.C. (Feb. 25, 2016)—At a hearing today before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, both Chairman Jason Chaffetz and Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings expressed full support for President Obama’s nomination of Beth Cobert as Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), rejecting GOP Senator David Vitter’s announcement today that he is blocking Cobert’s nomination.
Vitter’s office issued a press release this morning proclaiming that “he is blocking Beth Cobert to be Director of the Office of Personnel Management.” Vitter’s hold stems from his opposition to the Affordable Care Act and a rule OPM issued in 2013—before Cobert started working at OPM—relating to health insurance for Members of Congress.
“As we all know, Republicans are threatening to block anyone the President nominates to the Supreme Court—for political reasons. In the same way, they are stalling Ms. Cobert’s nomination despite the fact that she has been widely praised for turning things around at the agency,” Cummings said. “This is outrageous.”
While not addressing Senate Republican opposition to a Supreme Court nomination, Chaffetz commended Cobert, saying, “I find her to be a very competent person who is a breath of fresh air who actually has the background to run this agency.” He added: “I want to be one that’s counted as supporting her nomination, and I think that the country will be better off—the government will be better off—confirming her presence and allowing her to be the director fully confirmed as soon as possible.” He continued: “I am saying it publicly. I will put it in writing. I believe Mrs. Cobert has the right qualifications. I think the country and the office will be better off with her confirmation.”
Chaffetz is not the only Republican to praise Cobert’s leadership. Senator Ron Johnson, the Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said this month: “Beth Cobert is an extraordinary individual—wonderful background. I want to strongly support this nomination.”
The OPM Inspector General also praised Cobert in a letter to the President this month, writing: “Acting OPM Director Beth Cobert appears to have wrapped her arms around the multitude of challenges currently facing OPM. Further, she seems to be arduously striving to institute high standards of professionalism as she works to reinvigorate this great agency.”
Cummings concluded: “There is absolutely no reason to continue playing politics, and I hope every member of our Committee will join me today in asking the Senate to confirm President Obama’s nomination for this position as soon as possible.”