Senate Joins House in Opposing OPM/GSA Merger

The Trump administration's plan to merge most of the Office of Personnel Management with the General Services Administration looks like it will take another major hit. Legislators from both chambers reject the proposed consolidation, as the Senate joined the House in including no funding for the plan in its consolidated appropriations bill for fiscal 2020.
In a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee, Russ Vought, the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, made the case once again for the merger.
"The administration continues to stress the need for structural and organizational change at OPM. The status quo is unsustainable, and inaction would maintain an organizational construct that is ill-equipped to meet the needs of today's modern workforce," Vought wrote. "The administration is pursuing this needed structural reform to better align resources with mission and create long-term stability, sustainability, and increased operational excellence."
The Senate didn't entirely reject the merger in its version of the Financial Services and General Government funding bill, according to a report that committee released in September that while it will not allocate the administration's request, it seems willing to along with the authorizers.
"Should authorizing legislation be enacted that transfers these functions to GSA, the committee stands ready to provide sufficient resources to GSA to facilitate an orderly transition," the committee's report stated.
But without the funding–$50 million requested in fiscal 2020--the major pieces to the consolidation will not be possible.
The House in June also rejected the administration's request, while also adding specific language that would prevent the administration from merging OPM with GSA -- or carrying out any agreements that would facilitate further partnerships or shared activities between the two agencies.
Adding another wrinkle to the merger effort, the continuing resolution, which passed and became law in September, included $48 million for OPM to address any shortfalls because the National Background Investigations Bureau and the governmentwide security clearance portfolio transferred to the Pentagon.

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