Does OFPP nominee Joe Jordan stand a chance?

Probably not in this election year, experts say

The Senate soon will take up Joe Jordan's nomination as the next leader of the Office of Procurement Policy, but he shouldn't expect an actual vote any time soon.

President Barack Obama's nominee for OFPP administrator will go before the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee  May 9 at 10 a.m., nearly four months after Obama announced in February that Jordan was his pick to lead OFPP.

In December 2011, Jordan left his post as associate administrator of government contracting and business development at the Small Business Administration and came to the Office of Management and Budget as a senior adviser to the Federal Chief Performance Officer and OMB Deputy Director for Management Jeffrey Zients. The next month, Dan Gordon stepped down from the OFPP administrator position. Lesley Field has been acting administrator since January.

Jordan should not take the scheduled hearing as a positive sign, though. Some longtime observers of the nomination process say it's hard to get confirmed as a presidential election draws near.

“I would be surprised if he was confirmed before the election,” said Robert Burton, partner at the Venable law firm. Burton himself served as acting OFPP administrator several times as administrators came and went during the George W. Bush administration.

“It’s too tough to call,” said Roger Waldron, president of the Coalition for Government Procurement, echoing Burton's assessment.

Senators can put a hold on nominees, which halts the confirmation process. Burton said such a hold even more likely in an election year. However, once the election is done, confirmation could come quickly. 

Burton added that the Democratic and Republican Senate leadership would have to work out an agreement to get Jordan through to the administrator position to get a confirmation before the election. To date though, no senators have raised opposition to Jordan’s confirmation and there aren’t rumors of a halt to the confirmation, according to one insider.

But the source added that election year dynamics are still in play. “You have 100 senators all focused on different things.”

However, he and others agreed the administrator slot needs to be filled.

“Given the importance of the administrator’s role, it is our strong hope that he will get confirmed, and quickly. We cannot afford to be without the top acquisition leadership at such an important time,” said Stan Soloway, president and CEO of the Professional Services Council.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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