Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Ind.) reintroduced the Promote Accountability and Government Efficiency (PAGE) Act after a similar bill died in the previous Congress. The legislation would give agencies the authority to remove or suspend new employees “without notice or right to appeal, from service by the head of the agency at which such employee is employed for good cause, bad cause or no cause at all.”
Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Md.) introduced the Federal Employee Pension Act of 2017 to reduce the mandatory 4.4 percent pension contributions by new federal employees.
A 2018 budget proposal from the House Budget Committee asks federal employees to contribute more toward their retirement as a way to find $203 billion in mandatory spending cuts next year.
New legislative proposals from the Defense Department try to streamline the acquisition system, but do they compromise oversight?
According to the Veterans Affairs Department’s new reports detailing all major disciplinary actions for its workers, VA is on track to fire fewer people in 2017 than it has during the past six fiscal years. Federal employment experts say the new adverse action reports lack some significant details about VA’s efforts to improve accountability and transparency.
Gary Morton, AFGE’s VERA/VSIP lead negotiator, says employees also need to consider what budget cuts could mean for themselves and the agency in 2018.
The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to cut about 8 percent of its workforce through a VERA/VSIP program by Sept. 2.
About 100 House Democrats wrote to Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), voicing their opposition over the president’s four major proposed changes to federal retirement. The administration included the proposals in the fiscal 2018 budget proposal and would have a significant impact on both current and future federal employees and retirees.
Democrats and Republicans voiced their concern that EPA’s 31 percent cut in funding for fiscal 2018 could do more harm than good, and leave states “holding the bag” for the federal agency.
The House will pass the VA Accountability First and Whistleblower Protection Act, clearing the way for the President to sign the bill later this week. Some lawmakers and veterans service organizations see the bill’s passage as a major win after years of debate over new accountability legislation. But federal employee groups say the bill would do more harm than good.
John O’Grady, president of AFGE Council 238, which specifically represents EPA employees, says cutting the agency’s budget by one-third will impact federal, state, and local levels of public health, not to mention hurt employee morale.
The President’s full 2018 budget proposal offers a 1.9 percent pay raise for civilian employees and a 2.1 percent raise to members of the military. But federal employee unions and organizations say the raise does little to undo the damage the President’s proposed cuts to federal retirement benefits will have on current employees and retirees and future government workers. The budget also details workforce reductions at some agencies.
It’s been an interesting year for federal employee union, first a hiring freeze. and then a renewed attempt in the Senate to change the terms of employment at the Veterans Affairs Department. Now the House has turned its attention to civil service reform. J. David Cox, national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, joins Federal Drive with Tom Temin for one union’s view.
House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) says civil service reform is coming. The committee heard proposals for possible changes to federal employees’ pay and benefits Thursday.
Both the Veterans Affairs and Justice departments believe they can easily resolve some concerns with the constitutionality of the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection. DoJ is concerned, however, that VA will run into the same issues that ultimately rendered a controversial provision on firing senior executives unconstitutional.