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Colvin Receives Nomination and Opposition

In June, President Obama named Carolyn W. Colvin to lead the Social Security Administration. It came as no surprise, given that Colvin has been serving as the Acting Commissioner of Social Security since February 14, 2013, when she stepped in to replace former Commissioner Michael Astrue at the end of his term. Although many are eager to have a permanent leader in place at Social Security, opposition to Colvin's nomination has been voiced loud and clear-most surprisingly by Democrats, members of her own political party.

In truth, Colvin stepped into a tough spot when she was named Acting Commissioner-the agency was already in trouble. According to a recent post Sun, "Administrative funding at Social Security has remained essentially flat since 2010 - at roughly $11.5 billion annually - despite large increases in claims due in part to retiring baby boomer." Funding for the Social Security Administration hasn't changed since Colvin stepped in. As a result, numerous budget cuts have been made to accommodate the continual rise in administrative costs.

The concern being raised by Democrats over Colvin's nomination focuses heavily on the cuts that have been made during her time as Acting Commissioner. The Sun noted that 64 Social Security offices have closed since the end of the 2010 fiscal year, increasing the waiting time in the remaining open offices for those without appointments by 40 percent. Those raising concerns for Colvin's nomination are calling for reconsideration of some of the budget reductions.

Colvin's confirmation hearing, which has yet to be scheduled, will undoubtedly spark debate from Republicans and Democrats alike. Social Security Administration commissioners may have no say in the overall budget of the agency; as many past nominees have pointed out, they are only in control of the internal affairs. Colvin will undoubtedly face scrutiny over the resource cuts she has already made, and can probably expect a line of tough questions regarding the future of the agency.

Source: Sun, "Social Security nominee will face questions from allies," June 27, 2014

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