Following is the section on federal personnel issues of a White House statement objecting to numerous provisions in a bill the House has now passed pulling together seven of the 12 regular appropriations bills for fiscal year 2021, including the bill covering general government matters.
Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Reorganization. The Administration continues to stress the need for structural and organizational reform at OPM, and strongly opposes the inclusion of language in sections 635 and 636 of the bill. Legislative and administrative reforms are needed to better align resources with the agency’s mission and create long-term stability, sustainability, and increased operational excellence.
Apportionment Reporting. The Administration strongly objects to section 204 of the bill, which would require OMB to create an automated system and website through which each OMB-approved apportionment would be publicly posted, as well as publish information on delegation of apportionment authority. These reporting requirements are unnecessarily onerous and would require thousands of documents to be posted online each year detailing ongoing real-time executive branch management. In addition, the Administration strongly objects to section 750 of the bill, which would require agencies to report to congressional committees regarding apportionment actions. This provision would impermissibly interfere with the executive branch’s ability to execute the laws efficiently and effectively and reflects an improper intrusion on the appropriate balance of powers between co-equal branches of the Federal Government.
Informational Requests from the Comptroller General. The Administration strongly objects to section 749 of the bill. This section would require the head of an agency to respond to a written request from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) for information regarding a decision or opinion on a budget or appropriations law within 20 days of a request, and empowers the Comptroller General to bring a civil action to require such a response. Section 749 would also require the head of an agency to report any violation of the Antideficiency Act found by the GAO to the President, Congress, and the Comptroller General immediately. This provision reflects an improper intrusion on the appropriate balance of powers between co-equal branches of the Federal Government.
Restrictions on Withholding under the Impoundment Control Act of 1974 (ICA). The Administration strongly objects to section 748 of the bill, which would prohibit withholding from obligation any budget authority proposed for rescission or deferral pursuant to the ICA within 90 days of the expiration of that budget authority. In addition, this provision purports to prescribe specific conditions for apportionments of appropriations and requires the head of a Federal agency to provide the Comptroller General access to records or interviews with agency employees within 20 days of a request or by such date as otherwise specified by the Comptroller General. This provision would undermine long-standing budget law and impinge on the President’s ability to exercise fiscal management of the executive branch, which include his authority to propose rescissions.
Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA). The Administration strongly opposes section 751 of the bill, which would prevent agencies from addressing language in their CBAs that violate Government-wide requirements and would limit the authority of the Federal Service Impasses Panel to resolve bargaining impasses. By stipulating that a CBA shall remain in full force and effect until a new bargaining agreement is reached through mutual consent, this provision would effectively trap agencies and would force them to remain party to agreements that do not advance the effectiveness or efficiency of the agency’s mission. Similarly, the Administration strongly opposes section 752, which seeks to limit the President’s authority to suspend provisions of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute or exempt certain agencies for reasons of national security. It also strongly opposes section 753, which seeks to curtail agencies’ discretion to place reasonable limitations on use of official time by their employees and to limit agency space to mission-related uses rather than occupancy by employee unions.
Public-Private Competition. The Administration opposes language in section 740 of the bill that continues the moratorium preventing agencies from using public-private competition as a tool for determining whether specific work of the Federal Government should be performed by Federal workers or contractors. Such a tool would enable more efficient use of resources, helping to achieve important mission goals to better serve the needs of taxpayers, including those laid out in the President’s Management Agenda.