Congress

House passes bills to streamline federal hiring, presidential transition

Shutterstock image - Capitol Building under construction

Congress is sending President Barack Obama legislation designed to take some of the red tape out of federal hiring.

On Feb. 29, the House passed the Competitive Service Act of 2015, which would trim duplication in the hiring process by letting agencies share competitive service certificates when agencies are trying to fill similar positions.

"Our national security depends on the federal government's ability to recruit, train, and keep employees who are able to address evolving technological and cyber threats," said Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), one of the bill's co-sponsors, in a statement. "We can't expect to do that with archaic hiring practices. The Competitive Service Act creates a platform for agencies to share information about the most qualified candidates and eliminates a cumbersome and duplicative process."

Also on Feb. 29, the House passed the Edward "Ted" Kaufman and Michael Leavitt Presidential Transitions Improvements Act of 2015.

The legislation would clarify the General Services Administration's role in supporting the handoff between administrations, mandate the launch of a transition council six months prior to Election Day, and require agencies to put senior career officials into vacant political positions on an acting basis when those slots are deemed critical. As outside transition watchers have noted, the legislation would be one component of a broad push to fill more federal jobs quickly in the wake of the 2016 election.

In both cases, the legislation has already passed the Senate. The Presidential Transitions Improvements Act, however, was modified by the House and will require final Senate passage before hitting the president's desk.

About the Author

Zach Noble is a former FCW staff writer.

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