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FMA Washington Report: November 14, 2022

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 gstanford@fedmanagers.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?
FEHB Open Season: November 14 through December 12

The open enrollment season for the 2023 Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program begins today, Monday, November 14. The open season for health benefits, dental and vision insurance, and flexible spending accounts will be now through December 12, 2022.

The average enrollee share increase for 2023 will be 8.7 percent. The overall average FEHB premium increase will be 7.2 percent. The new health premiums go into effect January 1, 2023.

Legislative Outreach
Continuing Resolution Through December 16, FMA Urges Action to Fully Fund FY2023

As we reported last month, Congress passed a short-term continuing resolution to fund the federal government through December 16, 2022 and avert a government shutdown. Federal Managers Association (FMA) National President Craig Carter expressed both relief and disappointment in a press release.

“The Federal Managers Association is relieved the Senate approved this continuing resolution to prevent a harmful government shutdown. It will keep America’s hard working federal employees on the job, ensuring Americans will continue to receive the vital services they provide through December 16, 2022. While we supported this short-term Band-Aid, CRs hinder the ability of the government and the military to plan for the fiscal year ahead. They reduce our buying power and increase costs to taxpayers and the government. The result of a CR is the loss of billions of dollars. We are disappointed Congress has once again relied on a CR to keep the government running,” Carter said.

FMA Joins Coalition in Continued Pursuit to Prevent a Return of Schedule F

In September, the House of Representatives passed the Preventing a Patronage System Act (H.R. 302) by a vote of 225-204. This bipartisan bill would prevent any future administration – Democratic or Republican – from reviving Schedule F. It marked the third time the House has passed similar language this session signaling strong support for the effort. FMA supports H.R. 302 and the other legislative vehicles aimed at preventing the return of Schedule F.

FMA National President Craig Carter sent a letter to all members of the House of Representatives prior to the vote on the House floor on H.R. 302. To view the letter, click here. FMA also joined a Federal-Postal Coalition letter in support of the hill. To see that letter, click here.

On October 27, FMA joined a broad coalition of voices in a letter to House and Senate leadership urging the completion of Congressional action in the 117th Congress on this issue.

Media Matters
Better Late Than Never: The Repeal of Reduced Long-Term TDY Per Diems

FMA contributes to a quarterly column, "FEDforum," published on FEDmanager.com. This quarter's article, published on November 1, 2022, responds to the prompt, "better late than never."

When prompted by the phrase “better late than never,” there is a lot to choose from in regard to the federal workforce. An evergreen topic is funding for federal agencies. Full funding of Fiscal Year 2022 came nearly six months into the year, and we’re staring down that road yet again for FY2023. Federal managers will certainly say “better late than never,” whenever appropriations are completed, but that doesn’t mean it is not maddeningly frustrating to see the negative effects of these delays year after year.

Hear it from FMA: FMA Urges Action to Prevent a Return of Schedule F

FMA writes a monthly column, "Hear it from FMA," published on FEDmanager.com. This month's article, published on November 8, 2022, looks at efforts to prevent a future return of Schedule F.

As Congress prepares to come back for the ‘lame duck’ portion of the 117th Congress, FMA urges swift action to protect the civil service for years to come: Passing a legislative block for a future return of Schedule F – or any plan like Schedule F.

A short primer: In October 2020, the Trump Administration created Schedule F for the excepted service via an executive order. Schedule F was a new category of federal positions, ostensibly to expedite the hiring and removal of employees “in confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating positions.” FMA staunchly opposed the E.O. as a harmful assault on the non-partisan civil service, and we celebrated when President Biden revoked the E.O. that created it two days after his inauguration in January 2021. However, right now, there is nothing to prevent any future administration – Democratic or Republican – from bringing it back via another E.O. That is why, with less than two months remaining in the current session of Congress, we continue to call on Congress to protect the merit system, due process, and federal managers, and prevent a return to the patronage spoils system.

Agency Outreach
OPM Releases Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey Results

On October 20, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) released their government-wide 2022 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) results. The annual survey gives a snapshot of how federal employees “view their current work environment, including management, policies, and new initiatives.” According to OPM, 557,778 employees completed the survey.

“Amid unprecedented challenges, federal employees remain remarkably resilient, engaged, and committed to public service,” said Kiran Ahuja, OPM’s Director. “Federal employees are finding creative solutions to stay connected to their teams, leverage workplace flexibilities, and remain motivated to continue doing the critical work on behalf of the American people.”

FMA Attends Federal Salary Council Working Group Meeting

On October 28, the Federal Salary Council Working Group met to discuss recommendations regarding federal employee pay, potential new locality pay designations, and other topics. FMA attended the meeting to represent federal managers as these topics are discussed.

Several advocacy groups brought up the issue of salary compression, an FMA issue brief. We will work with those groups, and others, to address this critical issue affecting recruitment and retention at the highest levels of the civil service. FMA will also continue to join future public meetings of the Federal Salary Council Working Group on behalf of managers across the country.

Get Involved At These Events!
FMA 2023 Issue Brief Zoom: Tuesday, November 15

On Tuesday, November 15, at 7 PM Eastern, the FMA National Office will host a town hall on Zoom to begin planning FMA’s 2023 legislative agenda and issue briefs. We will discuss current issues we are working on and solicit your input on issues you would like us to work on on behalf of federal managers in 2023.

Check your email for a link to the Zoom meeting.

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The Association’s considerable influence stems from a team approach to advocacy. When lawmakers or agency decision-makers consider proposals that could adversely affect the management of the federal workforce, they quickly realize that TEAM FMA stands together to protect the interests of all its members.

Contact FMA

FMA National Office
  • 1641 Prince Street
  • Alexandria, VA 22314-2818
  • Phone: (703) 683-8700
  • Fax: (703) 683-8707
  • Email: info@fedmanagers.org