Trump’s Nominee to Run GSA Is Respected Republican Hill Staffer

Emily Murphy has promoted small business, but hasn’t headed an organization.

The Capitol Hill veteran President Trump nominated to run the General Services Administration would bring experience in procurement, technology and small-business policy to the job, though she has never managed a large staff.

Friday’s announcement from the White House noted that Emily Murphy, who is currently senior adviser to acting GSA chief Tim Horne, has been counsel at the House Armed Services Committee and worked for three chairmen of the House Small Business Committee. She did stints as the chief acquisition officer at GSA and as associate administrator for government contracting at the Small Business Administration.

On Capitol Hill, she specialized in compliance, GSA schedules and indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contracts, with a focus on easing regulatory burdens on companies.

In 2014, Murphy beat SBA in announcing that all federal agencies the previous year had met their small business contracting goals.

Murphy’s private-sector experience includes a role as general counsel and vice president for TerreStar National Services, a startup telecommunications company, and time with the law firms of Wiley Rein and Miller and Chevalier.

With a deep reputation in the contracting field, Murphy was instrumental while at GSA in a memorandum of understanding that clarified the procurement roles of GSA and the Defense Department, according to Washington Technology. She played a key role in the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act in pushing through a provision to allow small business to better compete for contracts, according to the 2013 edition of The Almanac of the Unelected.

The Missouri-born graduate of Smith College and the University of Virginia Law School has been recognized by the Women Impacting Public Policy advocacy group and the Small Business Technology Council, the White House noted. Early in her career, she worked for the Republican National Committee.

Former GSA Administrator Jim Williams told Government Executive that Murphy has “all of the small business and acquisition policy experience” needed to be effective. “I think together with somebody like [acting deputy administrator Anthony] Costa as her deputy, who is more familiar with the operations and business aspect of GSA, they would make a great team.”

The Professional Services Council praised the nomination and called on the Senate to confirm Murphy quickly.  

“I’ve known and worked with Ms. Murphy for 20 years, and I’m confident her extensive leadership as a senior staff member on two House committees, her experience as a government contractor general counsel, and her in-depth work in procurement policy and acquisition will serve her well as the new administrator of GSA,” said Alan Chvotkin, PSC executive vice president and counsel, in a statement. 

This story has been updated with comment from the Professional Services Council.