Oversight Democrats Urge House Appropriators To Deny Funds for Trump Government Reorganization

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Washington, April 4, 2019 | comments
Today, Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, and Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, led House Democrats in sending a letter urging the House Committee on Appropriations to deny funds for the implementation of President Trump’s government reorganization plan and the proposed merger of Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the General Services Administration (GSA).

“We have grave concerns about the Administration’s proposal to dismantle OPM and shift its functions to GSA, the Department of Defense, and the Executive Office of the President. We are also troubled that the Administration has failed to adequately consult with Congress on the merger and reorganization plans,” the members wrote.

“Until the Administration has provided Congress with adequate policy and legal justification for reorganizing OPM, Congress should prohibit funds to carry out any activities related to the Administration’s proposal,” the members added.

Government Operations Subcommittee Chairman Connolly sent a letter to the Acting Director of OPM, Margaret Weichert, requesting that OPM provide the Subcommittee with documents related to the Administration’s reorganization plans and justification for the merger of two agencies.

Connolly and Cummings were joined by Representatives Hoyer, Speier, Kelly, Sarbanes, Rouda, Holmes Norton, Lynch, Gomez, Brown, Wexton, Trone, Hill, Beyer, DeSaulnier, Raskin, Ocasio-Cortez, and Khanna.

The full letter follows and is available here.



Dear Chairwoman Lowey, Chairman Quigley, Ranking Member Granger and Ranking Member Graves:

As you consider the Fiscal Year 2020 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill, we respectfully request that you not appropriate any funding to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the General Services Administration (GSA) for the purpose of implementing a proposed merger between the two agencies, and that you prohibit the use of any funding for such purpose until the Administration has provided sufficient information and justification for the transaction to Congress.

We understand that the President’s Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2020 seeks to provide $50 million to the Working Capital Fund of the General Services Administration. According to the request, this money would be “used for costs incurred transitioning Office of Personnel Management functions to the General Services Administration.”

We have grave concerns about the Administration’s proposal to dismantle OPM and shift its functions to GSA, the Department of Defense, and the Executive Office of the President. We are also troubled that the Administration has failed to adequately consult with Congress on the merger and reorganization plans.

Over the last two years, the Committee on Oversight and Reform has made multiple requests to the Administration for the reorganization plans, as well as detailed information and justification for the merger. To date, the Administration has failed to provide the Committee with the plans or any detailed justification. Although Administration staff briefed Committee staff on the OPM reorganization, the information provided in the briefings lacked sufficient details. The Administration also failed to provide written legal analysis of the authorities needed for the reorganization despite repeated requests for the information.

Last week, Government Operations Subcommittee Chairman Connolly sent a letter to the Acting Director of OPM, Margaret Weichert, requesting that OPM provide the Subcommittee with these documents. The Subcommittee plans to hold an oversight hearing on OPM’s proposed reorganization next month.

We request that you include language in the Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations bill prohibiting funds for the reorganization or merger until the Administration provides the following documents and information to Congress:

1. Detailed reorganization plans for the merger, which should include estimates of the number of full-time equivalent employees and associated costs;

2. Analyses of the legal authorities OPM and GSA currently have or would need from Congress to implement the merger;

3. A cost benefit analysis showing all costs and savings by function for each year of implementation of the merger;

4. Written confirmation that the Administration has implemented all recommendations and addressed all objections or concerns of the Offices of the Inspector General for OPM and GSA regarding the reorganization and merger;

5. Written confirmation that the Administration has provided sufficient notice and opportunities for involvement in the reorganization and merger planning by agency employees and relevant unions in compliance with collective bargaining agreements and rights under the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute in Chapter 71 of title 5 of the U.S. Code; and

6. Detailed analysis that clearly shows that the reorganization and merger serve to make the federal government more efficient and effective.

Until the Administration has provided Congress with adequate policy and legal justification for reorganizing OPM, Congress should prohibit funds to carry out any activities related to the Administration’s proposal.

Sincerely,


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