From the statement of Orrin Hatch, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, at today's hearing on the nomination of Andrew Lamont Eanes to become Deputy Commissioner of Social Security:
... Today we will also consider the nomination of Andrew LaMont Eanes to be the Deputy Commissioner of the Social Security Administration . Currently, Mr. Eanes serves as Senior Advisor in the Office of the Acting Commissioner and has a vast background in management, technology, and a demonstrated history of simply getting things done. We can always use more of that in our government. ...
Even with these fiscal challenges [of the Social Security trust funds], operationally speaking, the Social Security Administration, or SSA, has fared better than most agencies in terms of budget allocations. Of course, we generally don’t hear that from them. Instead, we tend hear persistent claims from many SSA officials that any and all problems at the agency are caused by Congress’s supposed refusal to provide adequate funding.
Fortunately, however, there are also those at SSA who work hard, day in and day out, to ensure that taxpayer funds are used as efficiently as possible for the sake of beneficiaries. And, everything that I’ve see n thus far indicates that Mr. Eanes is one of these diligent officials working to protect taxpayer resources and to make sure the benefit programs can be run as efficiently and effectively as possible.
That is precisely what hardworking taxpayers and beneficiaries of these important programs deserve. ...
Senator Hatch, it's just a fact that because of inadequate administrative appropriations the Social Security Administration was forced to reduce its workforce dramatically at a time when its workload was increasing dramatically because of the aging of the baby boom generation.
Some have raised questions about this nomination because Mr. Eanes background is not in social insurance or public management. But sometimes, a fresh perspective may be valuable in helping tackle challenges in federal agencies. Mr. Eanes brings significant management and technology expertise from his time in the private sector, which could be highly beneficial to Social Security in delivering the best possible customer service.
Finally, I want to remind the committee that Social Security has not had a confirmed commissioner in place since February 2013. This committee should consider whether or not it is wise to confirm a deputy before a commissioner is confirmed. SSA runs best when its uppermost leadership positions are filled by strong leaders who’ve been approved by the Senate, but legitimate questions have been raised about the best way to proceed.
So I look forward to discussing that issue with my colleagues, and my hope is the administration puts forward a nominee to be commissioner for the committee to process as soon as possible.