Legislation designed to strengthen the Office of Personnel Management Act has cleared the House Oversight and Reform Committee, despite multiple Republicans objecting to the bill.

The Strengthening the Office of Personnel Management Act – sponsored by House Government Operations Subcommittee Committee Chairman Gerry Connolly, D-Va., full committee Chair Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa. – would codify recommendations to Congress that emerged from a National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) March 2021 report and would help establish OPM as an independent Federal agency that provides guidance and leadership to foster the country’s civil service.

“We successfully stopped the previous administration from abolishing OPM, now we have a responsibility to rebuild and modernize this agency,” Rep. Connolly said in a statement when he introduced the bill. “Federal employees are the crown jewel of government, and we must build a human resources agency nimble and prepared to help us attract and retain the talent our nation needs to provide vital services today and into the future.”

According to the bill’s cosponsors, the legislation would:

  • Clarify OPM’s mission as the center of the Federal government’s civilian Human Resources systems;
  • Require that candidates for the Director of OPM are selected without regard to political affiliation, and have human capital and leadership expertise;
  • Ensure that the agency’s Chief Management Officer is a career civil servant to provide continuity and stability within the agency across presidential administrations; and
  • Create a Federal advisory committee to help the Director better understand stakeholder needs, concerns, and ideas as they relate to OPM’s policymaking and operations.

In a press release, the bill’s cosponsors said the Strengthening the Office of Personnel Management Act is endorsed by the National Treasury Employees Union, the National Federation of Federal Employees, the International Federal of Professional & Technical Engineers, and the National Active, the Retired Federal Employees Association, and the Partnership for Public Service.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk's Assistant Copy & Production Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.