Whither OPM / the Senate HSGAC Subcommittee Hearing

As planned, the FEHBlog attended the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee hearing today concerning how the Administration’s government reorganization plan impacts OPM and GSA. To recap, that plan would move the OPM policy shop to the Executive Office of the President, move the background check program to the Defense Department, and move OPM’s other operations, including the FEHBP, to the GSA which would be renamed the Government Services Administration. The opening statements of the two witnesses, OPM Director Dr. Jeff Pon, and GSA Administrator Emily Murphy as well as the video of the hearing can be found here.

The hearing room was packed. Here are the highlights from the FEHBlog’s perspective:

  • The top OPM/GSA priority is to transition OPM’s HR Solutions to GSA. HR Solutions is a service that OPM sells to government agencies. GSA is generally responsible for selling and arranging to sell services and supples to government agencies. The OPM Director indicated OPM and GSA are considering whether this transition can be made without additional legislative approval. The Senators appeared to appreciate the synergies, and the Chairman requested a transition timeline.
  • This HR Solutions transition is the subject of these OPM and GSA transition teams about which the Federal New Radio article reported on Monday.  Transition of the employee benefit functions, including the FEHBP, from OPM to GSA is not under active discussion now. It is considered phase two. The OPM Director remarked that he wants to fix the agency’s retirement program administration problems before transferring those functions to GSA. He thinks that fix will take 18 months.