Congress

Connolly, Hice urge White House to fill MSPB slots

By Orhan Cam Royalty-free stock photo ID: 546416560 United States Capitol Building in Washington DC USA 

Appeals have been stalled at the Merit Systems Protection Board for more than four years, and leaders on the Government Operations subcommittee in the House want the White House to get moving on board nominations.

Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and Jody Hice (R-Ga.) urged President Joe Biden to nominate new board members to the MSPB quickly in an April 6 letter.

"Without a quorum, the MSPB is unable to act on claims of whistleblower retaliation and is at risk of essentially having to cease its operations," the lawmakers wrote.

MSBP has lacked even a single board member since March 2019, and without a quorum since January, 2017. Former President Donald Trump had three nominations in the pipeline but they never were advanced for votes in the full Senate.

As a result of the lack of Senate-confirmed officials at the agency, the board can't issue decisions on appeals or issue reports or studies. Currently, the backlog of appeals sits at more than 3,000 cases. Currently, the agency is run by agency general counsel Tristan Leavitt.

In addition, cases pending in federal court could threaten the ability of the administrative judges at MSPB to supply initial rulings on cases.

In the event the authority of MSPB administrative judges is challenged, the agency "would need to take action to vest the AJs with the required authority, which requires the Board to assemble a quorum—something it cannot now do," the lawmakers wrote. They're worried that without quick nominations from the Biden administration, "the MSPB is at risk of having to essentially cease its operations."

Those cases could be decided within the next five months, according to MSPB officials.

"Once your nominations are made, we trust that the Senate will work quickly to confirm the qualified candidates to the MSPB and restore the Board to full operations," Connolly and Hice wrote.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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