Lawmakers urge White House to fill MSPB slots
- By Adam Mazmanian
- Apr 06, 2021
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.