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Lankford Presses Biden Nominees to OPM, OIRA for Better Federal Hiring Processes, a Fair and Predictable Regulatory Process

CLICK HERE to watch Lankford’s remarks on YouTube.

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WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today served as lead Republican in a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing to consider the nominations of Robert Shriver III to serve as Deputy Director, Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and Richard Revesz to serve as the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) under the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). These positions may not be featured in many major news headlines, but they play a key role in the growing regulatory structure of the federal government, which Lankford continues to try to improve and make more efficient and effective.

Lankford serves as the lead Republican on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Government Operations and Border Management with jurisdiction over these agencies. In his questions today, Lankford maintained his focus today on Americans’ customer service concerns when interacting with federal agencies, the lengthy and overly burdensome federal hiring processes, and the often unfair and unclear federal regulatory process.

Opening Remarks (As Prepared)

Thank you, Chairman Peters, I’m glad to fill in as Ranking Member today. If confirmed, these nominees would be leaders in regulatory and federal workforce policy, two issues I have spent a significant amount of time on.

Rob Shriver is nominated to be the Deputy Director at OPM. As a professional with over 25 years of experience working on issues related to federal employees, he understands many of the challenges OPM and the federal government faces in hiring and maintaining a skilled and effective workforce. We were able to have a good, substantive conversation yesterday, and I look forward to continuing that here today.

Over the past decade, OPM has had to navigate many changes in leadership, structural overhauls, and a major cybersecurity event while attempting to achieve its mission to lead Executive Branch federal workforce policy and administer benefits programs for the federal family.

OPM continues to have many challenges it needs to address—for example, it takes nearly 100 days on average for a federal agency to hire a new employee. On the other end of an employee’s tenure, OPM manages a paper-based retirement system out of a cave in Pennsylvania.

To have a modern, effective federal workforce, OPM needs modern, effective policies and processes.

I look forward to discussing these topics with Mr. Shriver today.

Ricky Revesz has a long academic career with an extensive list of publications including many books, academic articles, and op-eds.  The Administrator of OIRA does not usually receive a lot of attention outside of a few circles here in DC, but it is an incredibly important position.

I have been concerned that taking so long to pick a nominee was a sign that this Administration does not view the position as necessary for good government. I hope I am wrong about that.

Regulatory policy impacts everyone. Fair and predictable regulatory policy allows businesses, particularly small businesses – to open, plan for the future, and thrive. This drives our economy forward. But drastic swings in policy from administration to administration creates uncertainty. We need safe food and working conditions, but regulatory policy must be known, predictable, and most importantly, follow the laws passed by Congress.

OIRA is the gatekeeper that ensures Executive Branch agencies follow the law, complete cost-benefit analysis, and do not cut corners for convenience. The job of the OIRA Administrator is often to tell your boss “no,” which is not easy.

Professor Revesz, there will be many both in the Administration and out who view the rulemaking process as an impediment to achieving their policy goals and it is your job to ensure that the law is followed.

In closing I’ll note that Professor Revesz has already had it much easier than his predecessor. When this committee last considered the OIRA nominee, Paul Ray,  faced several hours’ worth of questions from committee members and committee staff, as well as hundreds of pre-hearing and post-hearing written questions.