Connolly and Cummings Introduce the “Interim Stay Authority to Protect Whistleblowers Act”

May 7, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, and Congressman Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD), Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, introduced the Interim Stay Authority to Protect Whistleblowers Act.  In the event there are no members on the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) as is currently the case, this legislation would delegate temporary authority to the MSPB general counsel to stay questionable personnel actions brought by agencies against whistleblowers.  The general counsel’s authority would expire once one Board member is nominated and confirmed by the Senate.

“This was a completely avoidable crisis.  Whistleblowers shouldn’t be held hostage by the failures of the political system.  Our legislation would, at a minimum, keep the lights on and allow the MSPB general counsel to prevent an agency from taking a retaliatory or prohibited personnel action against those who disclose wrongdoing,” said Connolly and Cummings.

The MSPB is an independent agency led by three presidentially-appointed and Senate confirmed Board members that serves as the guardian of the federal merit system.  The term for the last remaining Board member, Mark Robbins, expired on March 1, 2018, but he continued to serve in a holdover capacity limited by statute to one year until this past March.

In February, the House passed H.R. 1235, the MSPB Temporary Term Extension Act, legislation offered by Cummings and Connolly that would have provided Mr. Robbins a one-time, one-year extension of his term.  The Subcommittee on Government Operations also held a hearing examining the vacancies at MSPB in February, but the bill was not taken up in the Senate.

Text of the legislation is available here.

116th Congress