The Senate could now move at any time to approve the nominations for the MSPB board, which has been unable to issue decisions since the outset of the Trump administration. The board has not had a quorum—two members—since January 2017 and has been without any members since March of this year.
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee recently approved the nomination of a third person for the board to go along with the two nominees it had approved earlier this year. Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., held up full Senate votes on them out of a desire to fill all the seats concurrently.
A backlog of more than 2,100 appeals from hearing officer decisions has been built up, a workload that experts say could take a year or more to work down even with much of the preparatory work already having been done by the agency’s career staff.
The 30 months is by far the longest the MSPB has been without a quorum and until this year it had never been totally without members. Members serve staggered terms; the three up for confirmation would expire on March 1 of 2021, 2023 and 2025.