In This Issue
What's Affecting Feds?
Get Involved At These Events!
FMA Washington Report: February 9, 2024
This report provides an update on issues affecting federal managers. As always, I encourage you to visit www.fedmanagers.org on a regular basis for more information on these and other matters.
Also, be sure to look for the monthly FMA Grassroots Update, where we offer links to action letters and FMA-PAC matters we do not address in the Washington Report. The grassroots newsletter is sent exclusively to non-governmental email addresses to avoid any Hatch Act violations. If you are not receiving it, contact the national office to provide your non-governmental email address.
Please feel free to provide feedback any time by emailing Greg Stanford at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the National Office at (703) 683-8700. Thank you for your membership in FMA. It’s an honor to represent your interests before Congress and the administration.
What's Affecting Feds?
Update on Fiscal Year 2024 Appropriations
On January 18, Congress approved another continuing resolution (CR) that averted a partial government shutdown and keeps federal agencies funded into March 2024. Funding for the departments of Veterans Affairs, Agriculture, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Energy, has been extended through March 1. Funding for all other agencies has been extended through March 8. The Senate approved the measure by a vote of 77-18 and the House followed with a vote of 314-108.
Last month congressional leaders negotiated an agreement on a $1.66 trillion topline for Fiscal Year 2024. Lawmakers reached a deal this week on how to allocate that amount across the 12 traditional spending bills and can now divvy up funding for departments and agencies.
FMA Enthusiastically Endorses Federal Employee Pay Raise Bill for 2025
On Tuesday, January 30, Representative Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) introduced the Federal Adjustment of Income Rates Act (FAIR Act) (H.R. 7127 / S. 3688) which would provide for an average 7.4 percent pay raise for the federal workforce in 2025. The bill would provide for a 4.0 percent boost in base pay and 3.4 percent in locality pay. The Federal Managers Association (FMA) endorsed the legislation and National President Craig Carter was quoted in a joint press release from Connolly and Schatz upon introduction.
“Federal managers deserve to be treated with respect for their efforts and the work they have performed over many years,” Carter said. “Every job they hold and perform daily is because of a congressional mandate. It is not too much to ask that, in return, feds be given the ability to maintain a living wage that provides for them and their families. We are grateful for Congressman Connolly and Senator Schatz’s continued leadership on behalf of the entire federal community with the introduction of the FAIR Act. They are steadfast supporters of the workforce and FMA enthusiastically endorses the FAIR Act. We look forward to working with Congressman Connolly and Senator Schatz to build support for this important bill.”
Lawmakers Concerned with OPM’s Effort to Promote Paid Parental Leave Benefit
FMA helped lead the effort that successfully culminated in providing paid parental leave to the federal workforce in 2019. However, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study released last month shows only 4 percent used the benefit from 2020 to 2022. On February 5, a bipartisan group of lawmakers spearheaded by the House and Senate Paid Family Leave Working Group wrote Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Kiran Ahuja to urge the agency to take steps to actively promote the benefit.
The GAO report revealed that the public-facing webpages of agencies they examined, “did not reflect current paid parental leave policies.” Further, the report found OPM’s own Leave Administration webpage is not current and has no fact sheets about the benefit that took effect in 2019. “With greater awareness and information provided by OPM, we are confident that this number would be higher,” the lawmakers wrote.
Rep. Craig Introduces Legislation Eliminating Taxes on Social Security
On January 25, Representative Angie Craig (D-MN) introduced the You Earned It, You Keep It Act (H.R. 7084) which would eliminate federal taxes on Social Security benefits.
“This bill is a win-win – it's a tax cut for seniors and a way to ensure more Americans can depend on the Social Security benefits they’ve earned. And on top of that, it’s fiscally responsible,” said Rep. Craig in a statement. “I’m leading the charge on this issue in Congress because we need to get money back in the pockets of middle-class Americans. The You Earned It, You Keep It Act will help us get it done.”
Norton and Ruppersberger Revive Effort Seeking Lifetime Protection from 2015 OPM Data Breach
Legislators have renewed the effort to provide lifetime protection for those impacted by the 2015 Office of Personnel Management (OPM) data breach. On February 5, Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) introduced the Reducing the Effects on OPM Victims Emergency Response Act (H.R. 7236).
Victims of the data breach have received identity theft protection and credit monitoring since shortly after the breach was detected and announced in 2015. However, that protection is set to expire in 2026. H.R. 7236 would extend lifetime identity theft protection and credit monitoring for the more than 21 million people affected.
OPM Issues Salary History Ban Regulations and Guidance
On February 2, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) provided guidance and established the deadline for agencies to comply with new regulations prohibiting the use of a job applicant’s non-federal salary history for setting pay for a federal job. The new regulations take effect on April 1, but the deadline for compliance is October 1 to account for hiring process changes.
The new rules, which impact jobs in the General Schedule, Administrative Appeals Judge, Administrative Law Judge, prevailing rate, and more, apply to job candidates seeking federal employment for the first time, as well as those returning to the civil service after a break.
OPM – Retirement Quick Guide
Last year, OPM launched a Retirement Quick Guide that shares what feds can expect through the retirement application process, how benefits are determined, and guidelines related to their interim and annuity payments. You can also view a three-page printable PDF version of the quick guide here: https://www.opm.gov/retirement-center/retirement-quick-guide/opm-retirement-quick-guide.pdf.
Get Involved At These Events!
2024 Issue Briefs Discussion on Zoom: Thursday, February 15
Join us on Thursday, February 15, at 8:00 PM Eastern, for a Federal Managers Association Issue Briefs discussion. FMA’s Government and Public Affairs Director Greg Stanford will present on the current state of FMA Issue Briefs for the coming year, and highlight areas where we believe we can make progress in the second session of the 118th Congress. Attendees are encouraged to come prepared to ask questions and discuss these issues.
Click here to review FMA’s draft 2024 Issue Briefs.
FMA’s 86th National Convention & Management Training Seminar
FMA's 86th National Convention & Management Training Seminar will be held Sunday, March 24 - Wednesday, March 27, 2024, at the Hilton Alexandria Old Town. Registration is now open. The hotel is conveniently located across the street from the King Street Metro Station and near the FMA National Office. We hope to see you there! You can make your hotel reservations now. For the most up to date information, visit FMA's website regularly.