Today, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing to examine the White House government reorganization recommendations released last week. Committee members asked questions regarding the cost benefit analysis of the plan, impact on agency services, impact on the workforce, and the implementation plan. Members also raised questions specifically about the proposal to break up the Office of Personnel Management and to transfer the policy office to the White House, with some members expressing significant concerns over having a purely political office talked with keeping the civil service free from politicization.
Margaret Weichert, Deputy Director for Management at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), was the sole witness at the hearing. Deputy Director Weichert talked primarily about how the plan was developed—collecting agency ideas and public comments, review of Inspector General and Government Accountability Office recommendations, and focusing recommendations on ways to reduce duplication and meet the priorities of the President’s Management Agenda.
Representative Comer (R-KY) asked whether the proposal was a plan to downsize the federal government. Deputy Director Weichert responded that downsizing is not the plan’s goal, but that it might be a byproduct in certain areas. She said that the government doesn’t have a problem with too many federal workers, but rather with a skills imbalance and noted the need to retrain certain workers.
Several members, including Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett (D-USVI-Del.), questioned whether the administration had reached out to solicit ideas and suggestions from federal employees and their union representatives for the reorganization plans. Deputy Director Weichert replied that they took suggestions from the public. NTEU submitted a statement for today’s hearing.
Deputy Director Weichert said that the proposal is a framework and that this is the beginning of the conversation. She also noted that over the next few months, the administration wants to work with Congress, employee unions and associations, and others on the White House proposal and review what changes can be made administratively, and which will require legislation.
While there are currently no details about how employees at the specific NTEU-represented agencies in the reorganizations plans, which include CFPB, DOE, HHS, and USDA, would be impacted by the proposed reorganizations, NTEU will continue to work closely with its allies on Capitol Hill to ensure that our members are not harmed. NTEU will also ensure that our congressional allies are aware of any outsourcing initiatives or attempts to transfer functions without congressional input and approval.