Bill puts protection of bureaucrats before improving service to Americans
WASHINGTON—House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.) today slammed Democrats’ proposal to foster more unaccountable bureaucracy at the Office of Personnel Management. In his statement at the committee’s markup of the Strengthening the Office of Personnel Management Act (H.R. 6066), Ranking Member Comer emphasized federal agencies must be equipped to meet their missions and deliver timely government services. He warned the Democrats’ bill would insulate OPM from accountability to any future President seeking to make the federal workforce more efficient and effective for the American people.
Below are Ranking Member Comer’s remarks as prepared for delivery.
Thank you, Madame Chairwoman.
I am sure you would agree Americans deserve a federal workforce equipped with all the tools and leadership it needs to deliver timely government services.
Yet Democrats have vastly different views than Republicans on how best to ensure federal agencies are equipped to execute their core missions and deliver necessary government services to Americans.
Democrats’ latest proposal, the Strengthening the Office of Personnel Management Act, misses the mark on providing efficiency, effectiveness, and political accountability.
Instead of providing needed reform measures, the Strengthening the OPM Act fosters more unaccountable bureaucracy.
It requires a nonpartisan appointment of the OPM Director.
That severs the OPM Director from political accountability.
It requires 30-days notice to Congress before the President can dismiss an OPM Director or Deputy Director.
That’s a recipe for Democrats to create a political firestorm if a Republican president tries to fire someone.
The bill also creates a new, career OPM Chief Management Officer.
Career officials are by definition shielded from political accountability.
In these and other ways, the Strengthening the OPM Act follows a Democrat trend.
That trend is to tear down, punish and prevent future renewals of the Trump Administration’s valuable attempted reforms to OPM and the federal workforce.
It is well known that OPM is an underperforming federal agency.
The Trump Administration tried to improve the functions and services OPM is intended to perform.
The previous Administration also attempted numerous reforms to make, not just OPM, but the entire federal workforce more efficient and effective for the American people.
But as soon as he took office, President Biden threw out virtually all of President Trump’s well-intentioned reforms.
And, through this bill, Democrats propose to insulate OPM from accountability to any future President who would dare to attempt similar reforms.
That’s putting the protection of bureaucrats before improving service to the American people.
I urge my colleagues to vote “No” on this bill and I yield back.