House Oversight Panel Aiming for May 21 Hearing on OPM ‘Dismantle’ Plan

The House Oversight and Reform Committee’s Government Operations Subcommittee is aiming to hold a hearing on May 21 to examine what its chairman, Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., characterizes as the Trump administration’s plan to “dismantle” the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

The planned hearing date was confirmed on May 6, by Rep. Connolly at a subcommittee field hearing at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., to discuss the impact of the 35-day partial Federal government shutdown on Federal contractors.

The May 21 hearing date is still unofficial, as is confirmation that the invited witness – the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) Acting Director Margaret Weichert – has accepted the subcommittee’s invitation to testify. OPM did not respond by late Monday to a request for comment.

But much more certain is Rep. Connolly’s stance toward the Trump administration’s proposal in its FY2020 budget proposal to reorganize OPM, and to provide no new funds for OPM program areas.

In a March 22 letter to Weichert, Connolly said the subcommittee hearing will “examine the Administration’s plan to dismantle OPM by transferring its background investigations function to the Department of Defense (DOD), moving its human resources, retirement, and healthcare servicing functions to the General Services Administration (GSA), and subsuming its policy functions under the Executive Office of the President (EOP).” The March 22 letter invited Weichert to testify at a hearing suggested for May 1.

Rep. Connolly asked Weichert to turn over to the subcommittee all documents “comprising the plan for reorganization OPM,” all proposed or existing interagency agreements to merge OPM functions and GSA, and a list of reorg actions that could be completed under existing law, and those that would require actions by Congress.

He also asked for documentation about GSA’s plan to be the custodian of personally identifiable information and person health information currently managed by OPM and stored in OPM IT systems, and to address cybersecurity vulnerabilities identified by GSA’s Office of Inspector General.

During Monday’s hearing, Rep. Connolly pledged that “Congress will have some say about” the transfer of background investigations functions from OPM to DoD as directed in an Executive Order issued by President Trump on April 23.

The administration, the congressman said, “has yet to come before my committee with a single shred of paper” regarding the April 23 order.

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