On January 16, 2019, the White House published a list of nominations for political appointee positions throughout the Federal bureaucracy. As expected, President Trump re-nominated the three individuals to the Merit Systems Protection Board that did not advance out of committee last year.
The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs (HSGAC) returned the nominees without a vote last year. On November 28, 2018, Senator Ron Johnson, HSGAC Chairman, held a roll call vote for the nominees. Yet, even with a Republican majority, the committee was unable to secure the votes necessary to advance the nominees to the entire Senate because Republican Senator Rand Paul vote ‘NO’ by proxy, as did all of the minority members (Democrats) of the committee.
According to the good folks over at FELTG.com, “Sen. Johnson, […], will not review the nominations if they are resent […] unless he can get Sen. Paul or a Democrat to change their minds.”
I have reached out to the majority and minority members of the HSGAC to determine if there is an expectation this year, that the three nominees will receive a vote before the expiration of Vice-Chairman Mark A. Robbins carryover year on March 1, 2019, and for insights on the objections by the minority members regarding these nominees. I’ll update this post if/when I hear back.
For now, the MSPB remains without a quorum, and without any Senate action before March 1, 2019; the Board will likely have no Senate-confirmed members for the first time in its 40-year history.
Below is the language from the White House announcement for the three nominees:
Dennis Dean Kirk, of Virginia, to be a Member of the Merit Systems Protection Board for the term of seven years expiring March 1, 2023, vice Susan Tsui Grundmann, term expired.
Dennis Dean Kirk, of Virginia, to be Chairman of the Merit Systems Protection Board, vice Susan Tsui Grundmann.
Julia Akins Clark, of Maryland, to be a Member of the Merit Systems Protection Board for the term of seven years expiring March 1, 2021, vice Anne Marie Wagner, term expired.
Andrew F. Maunz, of Ohio, to be a Member of the Merit Systems Protection Board for the term of seven years expiring March 1, 2025, vice Mark A. Robbins, term expired.