Tried checking the Office of Management and Budget website? You can't, because it's not there.
A search resulted in this message from the White House: “Thank you for your interest in this subject. STAY TUNED AS WE CONTINUE TO UPDATE WHITEHOUSE.GOV.”
The OMB, a White House agency, is the “implementation and enforcement arm of Presidential policy government-wide,” according to an archived version of the agency's website as it existed under President Barack Obama. The OMB is responsible, among other things, for reviewing other agencies’ regulations before they're published.
Don Kettl, a professor of public policy at the University of Maryland, told Bloomberg BNA Feb. 8 that the OMB is one of many agencies that have yet to move into second gear under the Trump administration. This will present challenges for the administration as it seeks to put together and implement policies affecting the federal workforce, he said.
The pace at which the Trump administration is naming agency leaders and getting them confirmed is “atypical” for a new administration, said Kettl, who is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Washington-based Partnership for Public Service.
The administration has been slow to reveal its agency picks and to provide the necessary financial disclosure documents for them, he said. Democrats in Congress also are slowing down the process—for example, by denying Senate committees the necessary quorums—because they don't have the votes to stop President Donald Trump's nominees from being confirmed by the Senate, Kettl said.
Paradoxically, the lack of agency appointees may have allowed the Trump administration to get off to a fast start in identifying its priorities, Kettl said. This is because there were no officials in place to apply the “brakes” on the initial rollout of the administration's agenda, he said.
“Part of what they're trying to do is to put down some big markers,” Kettl said. “They haven't been slowed down by a large apparatus.”
But the lack of structure may harm the administration as it begins implementing policy decisions, Kettl said.
Public attention has focused on the status of top-tier nominees such as Trump's pick for OMB director, Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), he said. But the lack of second-level political appointees at big agencies and chiefs at smaller agencies may have a big impact as the administration tries to move into second gear, Kettl said.
“The real work of putting the government into gear is in the hands of the deputies,” he said.
Limits on Acting Directors
The website for the Office of Personnel Management, the federal HR agency, is mostly frozen in time. There are no new speeches, blog posts or news items. Which isn't surprising, given that the agency is still awaiting a new director and other political staff.
Kettl said the Trump administration doesn't appear to be rushing to nominate a new OPM director. “There aren't even good rumors about OPM at this point,” he said.
Although the OPM has an acting director, “there are limits as to what acting directors can do,” Kettl said.
The administration has made it clear that it wants to transform the federal workforce. But it will be difficult to make changes without a team in place at the OPM, Kettl said.
For example, the administration must determine its strategy for working with Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, on changes to federal pay and benefits.
Chaffetz has made it clear that he intends to pursue legislative changes to the federal retirement system and to how federal employees are managed and paid, Kettl said.
The OPM also has a role in determining policy on issues such as security clearances for federal employees and cybersecurity defenses for the government's information technology systems, Kettl said.
“There are some big policy issues that an acting director just can't decide,” he said.
By contrast, Obama before beginning his first term in office had settled on John Berry as the next OPM director, and let federal employee unions know who his pick would be.
Obama formally announced his intent to nominate Berry, who at the time was director of the National Zoo, for OPM chief on March 3, 2009. Berry was confirmed by the Senate a month later, on April 3.
Members Needed at Merit Board
The Merit Systems Protection Board, which protects federal workers against prohibited personnel practices, has just one member. This means the panel can't issue rulings in response to appeals of administrative judges’ decisions. Republican Mark A. Robbins, the only member on the MSPB, is now the panel's vice chairman.
The MSPB at full strength has three members. Trump will need nominate two new members—a Republican and a Democrat, because the three board members can't all be from the same political party.
Having a working MSPB may be more important than the Trump administration now realizes, Kettl said.
“If you're interested in trying to transform the workforce, there are appeal rights” for federal workers under existing law, he said. “The MSPB needs to be in place as the administration seeks to do what it wants to do,” he said.
Bloomberg Law® helps labor and employment law practitioners provide rapid, accurate and complete advice to clients by bringing together trusted, market-leading Bloomberg BNA content like Daily Labor Report® and treatises like Covenants Not to Compete: A State-by-State Survey and The Developing Labor Law, with a fully integrated, innovative legal research platform. Click here to request a free trial.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)