Keeping quiet is not an option for Public Printer William Boarman as pressure on the GPO has grown.
When William Boarman took his post as the public printer in January, he stumbled right into the hot seat.
Just when President Barack Obama put him at the head of the Government Printing Office through a recess appointment, Members looking to cut spending were threatening to ax the legislative agency entirely and bashing its paper-based mission as a waste of taxpayer dollars.
Several months later, Boarman is fighting back and fortifying a defense for his agency. He’s cautiously eyeing fiscal conservatives but hopes that education about the GPO’s mandate and perhaps an agency name change will restore the printing office to good favor.
It’s an uphill battle for Boarman, who until recently has limited his public comments in hopes of avoiding negative attention. He is, after all, still awaiting Senate confirmation.
But keeping quiet is no longer an option for the former senior vice president of the Communications Workers of America as pressure on the GPO has grown.
The Stop the Over Printing Act — a bill that would end a requirement that the GPO print hard copies of Congressional bills and resolutions — passed the House unanimously in January. A companion Senate bill is sitting in committee.
Before that, Rep. Jack Kingston wondered aloud whether the GPO was even a necessary agency.
“Do we still need a Government Printing Office?” asked the Georgia Republican, the former chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch, which oversees the agency’s funding.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) similarly proposed elimination of the GPO in January.
Such proposals are unwarranted in the public printer’s eyes. He’s taking his case to the Hill, trying to swing favor his way by framing the GPO as more of an information agency.
“It’s not always clear what we do,” Boarman said Thursday during a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch. “We’re not just a printing agency. We are the digital platform for the entire federal government.”
The bulk of the GPO’s costs lie in digitizing, he said, not printing. Using the Congressional Record as an example, Boarman said 70 percent of production cost is used to digitize legislation, schedules and other federal records, while less than 30 percent is used to print hard copies.
Rep. Bill Cassidy has his blood drawn by Alesha Barbour during a free hepatitis screening in the Rayburn House Office Building hosted by the Congressional Viral Hepatitis Caucus to recognize "National Viral Hepatitis Testing Day."
Roll Call has launched a new feature, Hill Navigator, to advise congressional staffers and would-be staffers on how to manage workplace issues on Capitol Hill. Please send us your questions anything from office etiquette, to handling awkward moments, to what happens when the work life gets too personal. Submissions will be treated anonymously.