President Barack Obama is using a recess appointment to skirt a Senate hold on the nomination of William Boarman to head the Government Printing Office.
The move comes as current Public Printer Robert Tapella abruptly announced Wednesday that he has resigned. He did not state a reason for his departure, and an agency spokesman did not return requests for comment. Deputy Public Printer Paul Erickson, who has nearly three decades of printing experience in the private sector, became the acting public printer immediately following Tapella’s resignation.
Tapella was nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the Senate in 2007. In April this year, Obama nominated Boarman, senior vice president of the Communications Workers of America, to replace Tapella.
The Senate Rules and Administration Committee unanimously endorsed Boarman in July and Tapella backed him, but his nomination was reportedly blocked. The 111th Congress ended last week with no action on his confirmation.
According to hearing records, Boarman contributed $250 to 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 said he believed were payments. He repaid the dues to the agency, but the mistake also could have slowed his confirmation.
Under the recess appointment, Boarman can serve until the end of the first session of the 112th Congress without Senate confirmation.
The top-level shift at the agency comes as House Republicans have shown interest in cutting the printing office’s budget, possibly by reducing the amount of hard copy printing it carries out for Congress.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.