The Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) is an independent federal agency that enforces employment and whistleblower protections for federal employees. However, it has not had a quorum since January 8, 2017. This means it could not issue rulings on any cases, leading to a backlog of 3,500 pending cases, with at least 750 involving whistleblower retaliation claims.
On March 1, 2022, the full U.S. Senate unanimously approved the confirmations of Tristan Leavitt and Raymond Limon to the three-member panel. With the two members in place, the MSPB can move forward and process cases as it waits for Cathy Harris, whom President Biden nominated as the third and final member. The sitting members have already pledged to use an expedited process to help with the backlog.
More than 100 civil society organizations and advocates sent a letter in February of 2022 to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), urging them to immediately hold a vote to install the two nominees, who had been awaiting a confirmation vote since an October 6, 2021, committee vote.
A fully functioning MSBP will once again help ensure that the country has effective civil service where staff can raise concerns about prohibited personnel practices without fear of unfair treatment.