Former EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum Won’t Seek Third Term

A former Commissioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Democrat Chai Feldblum, has been awaiting Senate confirmation for her third term on the commission. On January 2, with the ending of the 115th Congress, the nominations of Feldblum and two others for the EEOC expired. Now, Feldblum has announced she will no longer be seeking a third term.

The EEOC, the primary board responsible for enforcing anti-discrimination laws, has lacked a quorum since January 1, when Feldblum’s term expired. The five-member commission requires three members to achieve a quorum and currently only has two.

A lack of quorum means the board does not have the authority to move forward with policy decisions, with decisions on big ticket lawsuits, or with significant spending. The commission is also being affected by the government shutdown, operating at less than 5 percent of its usual capacity.

Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) held Feldblum’s confirmation last year over concerns she may threaten religious liberties and traditional marriage.

Supporters of Feldblum have cited her successes combatting various forms of discrimination during her two terms on the EEOC, including her role as co-chair of a bipartisan task force on the EEOC’s ability to combat sexual harassment.

Feldblum told Bloomberg Government she would not be seeking a third term, saying, “There are lots of incredibly talented people who can serve. I think it’s very important for Sen. Chuck Schumer to recommend someone else for the second Democratic seat.”

Statute requires the commission have no more than three members from the same political party.

Daniel Gade, a Republican nominee for the Commission, withdrew his name from consideration in December after 16 months awaiting Senate action. Gade cited the “toxic political climate in Washington right now” as his reason for withdrawal, according to Bloomberg Government.

Last week, President Trump re-nominated two individuals to serve on the board.

Janet Dhillon has been re-nominated for one of the commission’s Republican seats and Sharon Fast Gustafson has been r-enominated to serve as general counsel.

Feldblum has voiced concerns that the Senate will only pass a “package deal” to replace all vacant seats on the board, which would mean action will likely not take place until a new third nominee is brought forward.

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