WASHINGTON, DC – Bipartisan legislation authored by U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Alex Padilla (D-CA) to authorize Federal Executive Boards (FEBs), which help improve collaboration among federal agency offices located outside of Washington, D.C., has advanced in the Senate. FEBs help coordinate federal emergency response activities at the local level and build partnerships between agencies and state and local entities to ensure federal programs are administered effectively. Currently, there are 28 FEB locations across the nation, including one in Michigan, three in Texas, and two in California. The bill would enable FEBs to further support agency efforts to recruit and place students, veterans, and others into skills training opportunities like apprenticeships and paid internships at agency field offices, as well as ensure FEBs consider U.S. competitiveness and emerging technologies when they carry out their activities related to interagency collaboration and training the federal workforce. The bill was approved by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee where Peters serves as Chair. It now moves to the full Senate for consideration.
“Federal Executive Boards help ensure the government is working efficiently by improving communication and cooperation between federal employees that work all across the nation,” said Senator Peters. “This bill will ensure that federal workers located outside of our nation’s Capital receive increased support to effectively serve their communities and build future partnerships.”
“Because 85% of all federal employees work outside of Washington, D.C., improving coordination between federal agencies is a vital step we can take to maximize the impact of government programs,” said Senator Cornyn. “This bill would ensure that federal employees have what they need to collaborate across agencies and partner with local entities to respond to the unique needs of their regions.”
“Collaboration at all levels of the government is essential for federal agencies to function successfully and efficiently,” said Senator Padilla. “Federal Executive Boards are critical to ensuring that coordination, which is why I’m joining Chairman Peters and Senator Cornyn to help ensure they have a stable funding source. This bill would support Federal Executive Boards as they continue building stronger partnerships for federal initiatives including emergency response and workforce development at the state and local level.”
“For over 60 years, Federal Executive Boards have been at the core of supporting federal employees across the country. FEBs have strengthened our government’s emergency preparedness, workforce development, and community engagement efforts, which played an invaluable role in the comprehensive response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Max Stier, President and CEO of the Partnership for Public Service. “We applaud Sen. Gary Peters, Sen. John Cornyn and Sen. Alex Padilla for recognizing the vital role of the FEBs and introducing the bipartisan Improving Government Efficiency and Workforce Development through Federal Executive Boards Act, which will help ensure that the FEBs are funded and supported for years to come.”
Currently, FEBs are not formally authorized and do not have a stable source of funding. This means these critical entities are at risk of shutting down or closing. The senators’ bill would provide FEBs with the resources they need to continue supporting agency initiatives and strengthen federal talent pipelines by increasing the number of training opportunities in government, including a focus on preparing the federal workforce for emerging technologies to strengthen our global competitiveness.
The Improving Government Efficiency and Workforce Development through Federal Executive Boards Act would authorize FEBs and a stable source of funding. The bill requires administration and oversight of FEBs to be carried out by Office of Personnel Management (OPM) in coordination with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the General Services Administration (GSA).The legislation would enhance FEB workforce development-related activities, such as supporting recruitment into federal internship and apprenticeship programs. Finally, the bill requires a report to Congress on FEBs following the implementation of the bill.