US Coins

Ryder renominated to become Mint director

U.S. Mint Director nominee David J. Ryder fielded few questions during his Oct. 24 confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

Color image screen capture from confirmation hearing; background image of Philadelphia Mint courtesy of U.S. Mint.

When David J. Ryder’s nomination to become the 39th director of the United States Mint failed to go before the full Senate for a confirmation vote in 2017, the nomination, along with more than 100 other presidential nominees, was returned to the White House to begin the process anew.

Ryder was nominated initially by President Trump on Oct. 2, with the nomination referred three days later to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. Ryder’s nomination hearing before the committee was held Oct. 24 and favorably reported out of committee on Nov. 1. The nomination was placed on the Senate’s executive calendar but never came up for a full vote.

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When the Senate session ended without the nomination being either confirmed or rejected, according to the Senate’s rules the nomination had to be returned to the president. It was returned to President Trump on Jan. 3 and the president renominated Ryder on Jan. 8. The nomination was again referred to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. It is not known whether Ryder will be required to face a second hearing before the committee before his nomination can progress to a vote.

Ryder’s nomination hit a snag when Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., placed a hold on the nomination Dec. 20 amid the debate on the Republican tax cuts legislation. The hold was soon lifted. However, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, subsequently announced his intention to object to Ryder’s nomination and the nomination of another Treasury Department nominee, Isabel Marie Keenan Patelunas, of Pennsylvania, to be assistant secretary for intelligence and analysis, but for reasons totally unrelated to their qualifications for the positions to which they were nominated.

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Grassley’s objections were placed because the Treasury Department had failed to respond to his inquiry concerning a completely unrelated matter, addressed to another bureau within the Treasury Department, seeking documents relevant to an ongoing investigation by the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, on which Grassley serves.

Grassley’s inquiry, however, had been addressed to a position that is vacant because an undersecretary nominated for that office is also not yet approved.

If Ryder receives confirmation from the full Senate, his term as the Mint’s chief executive would be for five years. It would be Ryder’s second stint as Mint director, as he served 14 months via a recess appointment during the administration of President George H.W. Bush.

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