WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, delivered opening remarks at the nomination hearing of Kiran Ahuja to be Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and Anton Hajjar, Amber McReynolds, and Ronald Stroman to be Governors of the United States Postal Service (USPS). Portman discussed the challenges facing OPM and the USPS, namely how to improve federal workforce hiring and promotion and ensure timely, high-quality mail and package delivery service for all Americans while addressing the Postal Service’s financial shortfalls.
A transcript of his opening remarks can be found below and a video can be found here.
“Thank you, Mr. Chairman…I will keep my opening statement short except to say I enjoyed talking with all of you, all four of you. And I appreciate your willingness to serve as I told you in our conversations. I think you’re coming forward at a very consequential time. We talked, Ms. Ahuja, about the issues that affect the Office of Personnel Management right now and we talked a little about some of your work there previously and the cyberattacks and information privacy issues. As well as just the need for us to deal with what GAO has identified, every year consistently, as one of our huge challenges as a country – how to get our federal workforce motivated and improve morale.
“The OPM role in everything to do with human resources is important but you’re also providing technical guidance and support to agencies on a number of issues including performance evaluation, development of workers, and overseeing the benefits programs, of course, for millions of federal employees. So, incredibly important time and I look forward to your opportunity to answer some more questions today in addition to what we talked about in person.
“The Board of Governors for the Postal Service is, as we talked about, kind of the Board of Directors for a private company. That’s maybe the closest comparison. And I know it’s part-time, but I know it’s also a huge time commitment and all of you have had experience in one way or another touching on this issue. Ms. McReynolds, with regard to mail-in ballots, and I appreciate our conversation and your nonpartisan way in which you’ve approached that issue. All of you in terms of your experience, Mr. Stroman probably the most experience of any board member in recent history, having worked at the Postal Service in various ways, including as Deputy. And of course, Mr. Hajjar, your work on the legal front, including working with the Postal Service Union.
“So, we’ve got a lot of challenges. $87 billion in losses over the last 14 years. Now more than $150 billion in unfunded liabilities. At the same time, providing high-quality mail and package services to all Americans remains absolutely vital, and I know you understand that. So, if confirmed, you’re going to have a challenging road ahead and a lot of tough issues. We’ll try to help you with some of those. Should you be confirmed, I know that the Chairman and I want to work on some of these issues as they relate to legislative changes, but you’re going to have a lot to do, including rate issues on the board.
“We thank you again for your willingness to step up and look forward to the continued questions here today and the opportunity to move these confirmations forward. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.”