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Campus Notebook: Public Printer Waits to Be Confirmed

On April 15, President Barack Obama nominated William Boarman to become the 26th public printer of the Government Printing Office, a senior-level position that acts as CEO of the agency. But five months later, the nominee is still waiting to be confirmed by the Senate.

With 40 years of printing industry and management experience under his belt, Boarman — the current vice president of Communications Workers of America, president of the union’s Printing, Publishing & Media Workers Sector and former GPO employee — had a bevy of supporters that all but ensured a swift confirmation.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) called him a “knowledgeable advocate” and an “excellent choice to lead GPO.”

“I am pleased that the administration recognizes Bill’s talents and am confident he will attract bipartisan support in the Senate,” he said in a CWA release following the nomination.

Even Robert Tapella — the current public printer, who was appointed by George W. Bush and was a Republican staffer in the 1990s — endorsed the nominee.

“I am very pleased by the President’s selection of Bill Boarman to be the 26th Public Printer of the United States,” Tapella said in an April GPO release. “Bill is no stranger to the GPO, as his career took him other places he remained a strong champion and friend of the GPO, and I hold him in the highest personal regard.”

Although the Senate Rules and Administration Committee unanimously endorsed Boarman in July, the nomination has not been brought to a Senate vote and is reportedly being held from confirmation.

Some, including conservative activist Andrew Breitbart, have questioned Boarman’s commitment to the unique private-public relationship of GPO (60 percent of the agency’s printing activities are procured through private contracts).

But in his hearing, Boarman attempted to negate such worries. He said the procurement program is “the best price execution [for printing], and it creates jobs in the private sector when we have contracted out, and it basically goes to small mom-and-pop shops.”

According to hearing records, Boarman contributed $250 to the Lt. Gov. Bill Halter’s unsuccessful bid for Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s seat in the Arkansas Democratic primary, but Lincoln’s office told CQ Weekly that she hadn’t blocked the nominee.

Boarman also recently admitted to receiving more than $3,000 in erroneous GPO checks, which he claimed he believed were payments. He repaid the dues to the agency, but the mistake also could be slowing his confirmation.

Food, Glorious Food

The cafeteria in Longworth House Office Building now includes a healthier-eating cafe, offering 600-calorie meals, vegetarian and vegan options, and nutritional information.

Dubbed Whole + Sum, it came at the request of House Administration Committee member Susan Davis (D-Calif.), who asked committee staff to look into a food station that could list calories and offer balanced meals.

“I came back from getting soup one day and I thought, ‘This is really good, but I have no idea how fattening it is,’” Davis said. “And at that time I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we actually had calorie counts in the House cafeteria?’”

Davis said the staff had been musing such an option but hadn’t had the impetus to act from a Member.

The restaurant, which opened Sept. 14, offers five weekly menus featuring world cuisine as well as American standards, all with interchangeable components.

Diners could, for instance, choose a 600-calorie bowl consisting of a protein, such as five-bean and butternut squash chili or Cajun chicken stew with okra (each 350 calories); pair it with a grain such as wild rice salad with garbanzo beans, wheat berry with orange vinaigrette or steamed brown rice (each 150 calories); and top it off with a fruit or vegetable such as dill potato and apple salad, cauliflower skordalia, sugar snap peas with peanuts or a wedge salad with tomato basil relish (each 100 calories).

This option costs $6.25.

For $0.70 more, a patron could opt for two sides of vegetables while reducing the protein helping to 250 calories.

Davis said she’s not interested in forcing anyone to eat healthy, but it’s good to have options.

“It shouldn’t cost more for people to eat grilled chicken and veggies instead of fried chicken and onion rings,” she said. “Pizza’s fine, but maybe not every day.”

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