Most of Biden's TSP nominees are free to be confirmed

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is one of the senators who had placed a hold in April.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is one of the senators who had placed a hold in April. Anna Rose Layden-Pool/Getty Images

GOP lawmakers who had placed a hold on confirmation changed course after the nominees committed to being “highly skeptical” of proposals to include Chinese investments in the Thrift Savings Plan’s offerings.

Republican senators on Thursday announced that they had lifted their hold that had made it more difficult for President Biden’s nominees to the agency that administers the federal government’s 401(k)-style retirement savings program to advance. The announcement came after the nominees committed to being “highly skeptical” of changes that would introduce Chinese investments to the Thrift Savings Plan.

In April, Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., all placed holds on four nominees to the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board who have advanced out of committee: Leona Bridges, Stacie Olivares, Dana Bilyeu and Michael Gerber.

At the root of the senators' objection was concern that the nominees would revisit a controversial proposal to change the index upon which the TSP’s international (I) fund is based from the MSCI Europe Australasia and Far East Index to the more comprehensive MSCI All Country World ex-U.S. Investable Market Index, which includes investments in Chinese firms. In May 2020, the Trump administration pressured the TSP board to abandon implementation of a 2017 decision to shift the I Fund to the more comprehensive market index.

In a letter to the senators who had placed the hold on their nominations, Biden’s picks to run the Thrift Savings Plan sought to assuage this concern.

“We fully support the position of the acting chairman and would be highly skeptical of future recommendations to track this or any index that invests in Chinese companies, consistent with our fiduciary and statutory duties,” they wrote. “[As] of now, as you know, China is the only country where the [Public Company Accounting Oversight Board] is unwelcome, so we believe we would not permit TSP funds to invest in Chinese companies knowing TSP participant and beneficiary assets could be subject to fraud, financial irregularities or other risks.”

But the nominees also reiterated the position of current TSP board members that when companies pose a risk to national security or are otherwise subject to sanctions, it should be up to the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control to bar all Americans from investing in them, not just federal workers.

“We agree it is unfitting for Americans to invest in companies from China or elsewhere that undermine U.S. national security,” they wrote. “Congress provided the authority to the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control to ban any American from making such investments. We fully support [the office's] ability to exercise its authority and we commit that any company banned by [the Treasury office], whether based in China or elsewhere, would not be included in any TSP fund.”

In a statement, Rubio announced that he had lifted his hold and applauded the nominees’ statements.

“There is absolutely no reason the retirement savings of service members and federal employees should be funding companies working with the Chinese government and military,” he said. “It is encouraging that these nominees understand their fiduciary duties. I look forward to working with them to ensure retirement funds do not flow to these unaccountable companies.”

Thursday’s news likely clears the way for four of Biden’s nominees for the TSP board to be confirmed by the Senate. But a fifth nominee, Javier Saade, who has been tapped to serve as chairman, must be discharged from committee by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, after a committee vote on his nomination failed, apparently over past social media posts he made denigrating Republican leaders.

This article was published first on GovExec, a FederalSoup partner site. 

NEXT STORY: Nearly all TSP funds continued to tumble in April

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.