Fedweek

The Senate has now joined the House in a recess that will last until September 9 without taking action on nominees to fill long-vacant positions of importance to the federal workplace.

All three seats remain vacant on the MSPB, leaving that board still unable to begin considering appeals of decisions by its hearing officers, with a backlog of more than 2,100 cases pending since the board has lacked a quorum since early 2017. Nominees for all three seats cleared the committee level—two of them early this year, the third more recently.

Also having cleared the committee level is the nominee to head OPM, Dale Cabaniss. There was some movement on her nomination just before the Senate recessed, a motion by Republican leaders to end potential debate, which if approved after the recess could pave the way to bring her to a floor vote. However, several Democrats have gone on record as opposing her based on her tenure at the FLRA during the Bush administration.

The nomination of HHS official Catherine Bird for general counsel of the FLRA—a position key to the outcome of unfair labor practice complaints filed there, usually by unions against management—also has cleared the committee level, although with unanimous opposition there from Democrats.