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  • Writer's pictureLeitner Varughese Warywoda

White House Focuses on Strengthening Merit Systems Protection Board to Remove Backlog

President Biden takes determined action to address the long-standing backlog of cases and fortify the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). By nominating two candidates for Senate approval, the administration aims to complete the three-member roster and establish a permanent chair. This article explores the significance of MSPB, provides an overview of the current status, and discusses the recent nominations by the White House.

Understanding the MSPB

The Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) is a crucial independent agency within the executive branch. It plays a pivotal role in safeguarding federal merit systems and upholding fair employment practices. The MSPB's objective is to prevent partisan political interference and other prohibited personnel practices, ensuring a just and equitable work environment for the federal workforce.

Current Status of the MSPB

Currently, the MSPB has two members, meeting the quorum requirement for decision-making. However, from 2017 to March 2022, the board faced a lack of members, leading to a significant backlog of cases. This backlog not only hindered the board's effectiveness in addressing pending issues but also caused frustration among federal employees due to delayed resolutions.

President Biden's Renominations

To rectify the situation and improve the efficiency of the MSPB, President Biden has nominated two candidates for vacant positions. Cathy Ann Harris, the acting chairman and an existing member of the MSPB, has been renominated as the permanent chair. Henry Kerner has also been renominated as an MSPB member. The nominees' confirmation will allow the MSPB to regain its full capacity and effectively address pending matters that impact the federal workforce.


The White House's renewed efforts to strengthen the MSPB and clear the backlog demonstrate its commitment to maintaining the integrity of federal merit systems. Through the nomination of qualified candidates, the Biden administration aims to restore the MSPB's functionality. As the nominees await Senate confirmation, it is expected that the MSPB will efficiently address pending matters affecting the federal workforce.

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