Industry leaders hail confirmation of AoC

Ayers has been serving as the acting Architect of the Capitol (AoC) for three years and was unanimously confirmed by the Senate late Wednesday night.

President Barack Obama nominated Ayers to fill the 10-year term earlier this year. Ayers received a glowing endorsement from senators at his confirmation hearing, virtually guaranteeing his confirmation in the full Senate.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) was quick to herald Ayers’ confirmation.

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“For the Senate to confirm Stephen Ayers so quickly and on such a bipartisan basis is itself an endorsement of the profession as well as Mr. Ayers’ steady hand as he led the Architect of the Capitol’s office for the last three years,” said George H. Miller, the president of AIA.

Ayers’s office is charged with maintaining more than 16.5 million square feet of facilities, including the expansive multimillion-dollar Capitol Visitor Center (CVC) and more than 450 acres of property that fall under the jurisdiction of the legislative branch.

“It is a wonderful honor and privilege to have been confirmed last night by the United States Senate to be Architect of the Capitol,” Ayers said in a statement Thursday. “I appreciate the trust the Congress has placed in me, and for the support it has given our organization, and I thank President Obama for nominating me."

In his first months in office, Ayers became the focus of outrage for many lawmakers who balked at the doubling cost of the CVC and demanded he provide a better plan of accountability for its construction.

But since the CVC’s opening more than a year ago, lawmaker opinions have been relatively positive of Ayers’s performance.

“I am extremely proud to have been selected to lead the AOC team,” Ayers said in a statement. “Our many accomplishments and successes have truly been a team effort.  I look forward to the work and the challenges ahead.”