Statement of Chairman Tom Carper on the Nomination of Katherine Archuleta to be OPM Director

WASHINGTON – Today, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) took to the Senate Floor to urge his colleagues to confirm the Nomination of Katherine Archuleta to be the Director of the Office of Personnel Management.

Chairman Carper’s statement, as prepared for delivery, follows:

“Madam President, I rise today to urge my colleagues to swiftly confirm Katherine Archuleta to be the next Director of the Office of Personnel Management.

“The Office of Personnel Management has been without a Senate confirmed leader since April of this year. As the agency responsible for managing our federal workforce, OPM’s mission is critical to ensuring that the government runs efficiently. Unfortunately, though, vacancies at the top levels of leadership have limited OPM’s ability to fulfill its mandate.

“Sadly, this experience is not unique to OPM. At any given moment we are lacking critical leadership in numerous positions in just about every agency, undermining the effectiveness of our government. This problem has become so prevalent in both Republican and Democratic Administrations that I often refer to it as Executive Branch ‘Swiss Cheese.’

“While Congress and the Administration have taken steps to address this problem, the fact remains that we still have more work to do to ensure that we have talented people in place to make critical decisions. This week we consider the nomination of Katherine Archuleta to be the next Director of the Office of Personnel Management.

“Ms. Archuleta is a qualified nominee who has spent her career dedicated to public service.  She has held leadership positions across the federal government - serving as Chief of Staff at both the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Transportation – as well as in local government in Denver and in the private sector.

“According to my friend and former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Katherine Archuleta is ‘terrific,’ and ‘helped create the modern Denver as Deputy Chief of Staff to Mayor Pena.’  She led economic development efforts throughout the city and was instrumental in the creation of the new Denver International Airport. He also called her ‘a star of the Clinton team in the US Department of Transportation.’

“Additionally, Senator Mark Udall of Colorado introduced Ms. Archuleta at her confirmation hearing, stating that, ‘throughout her career, Katherine has demonstrated her ability to lead, to motivate and to work constructively with a diverse range of people and personalities.’

“Ms. Archuleta’s life is a story of firsts. Although neither of her parents completed high school, they worked tirelessly to create better opportunities for their children. Throughout her career she has served as an example for women and Latinos and would be the first Latina Director of OPM.

“President Obama nominated Ms. Archuleta to this critical position back in May. In July, we held a hearing to consider her nomination and voted her out of committee shortly thereafter. At her confirmation hearing, Ms. Archuleta committed to quickly take steps to address some of OPM’s greatest challenges, such as continuing to implement the Multi-state plan program under the Affordable Care Act, reducing the retirement claims backlog to ensure retirees receive their full pension benefits without the serious delays many retirees see today, and recruiting and retaining the next generation of federal employees.

“We now have a nominee who is qualified, vetted and ready to begin working. It is our responsibility to give her a swift vote here on the Senate floor so she can take the reins at OPM and begin directing this critical agency. Ms. Archuleta will be the first OPM nominee that required cloture or even a roll call vote since the agency was created in 1978.

“I urge my colleagues to join me in voting to confirm Ms. Archuleta so she can get to work as soon as possible.”