FMA WELCOMES PASSAGE OF NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT - December 8, 2016
Alexandria, VA – On Thursday, December 8, 2016, the U.S. Senate passed the Conference Report (House Report 114-840) to accompany the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2017 (S. 2943) by a vote of 92 to 7. This follows passage in the House of Representatives on Friday, December 2. The NDAA provides for $619 billion in funding for the Department of Defense, including war funding and military pay raises. Federal Managers Association (FMA) National President Renee Johnson made the following remarks upon Senate passage of the legislation.
"I commend the Congress for completing its work on the NDAA. It is a must-pass piece of legislation that Congress has managed to come together and pass more than 54 years in a row. It sets funding levels for our defense efforts, as well as critical policies affecting the military and the Department of Defense, which is the largest employer of employees in the federal government. While FMA does not agree with everything included the bill – the conference report is nearly 1,600 pages long – I acknowledge the effort put forth by all members and staff of the Senate and House Armed Services Committee to put together this package.
“FMA was happy to see in the inclusion of the Administrative Leave Act of 2016, bipartisan legislation sponsored by Sens. Jon Tester (D-MT) and Charles Grassley (R-IA). Our association endorsed these commonsense reforms because they will help managers across the federal government provide a more efficient and effective workplace. We are aware of many documented cases of problems and costs associated with the current system regarding administrative leave. The language, as included in the 2017 NDAA, establishes clear timelines and definitions while reducing waste in the federal government. New leave categories, such as investigative leave and notice leave, will also be established and will bring much-needed uniformity, transparency, and accountability to federal agencies.
“We were disappointed that the conference report includes the Senate-passed language regarding the DOD cuts to long term TDY per diems, rather than the House-passed full repeal. The language in the bill allows each Service Secretary within DOD to waive the cuts within his or her own service. While this is an improvement on current policy, FMA continues to support a full repeal and will work with congressional allies in the 115th Congress toward that end."
FMA supports the conference report language that increases the Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay (VSIP) from $25,000 to $40,000. This provision will sunset on September 30, 2018. Finally, regarding veterans’ preference, the conference report does not include the Senate-passed language that would have limited the use of points for preference eligible hiring to the first appointment of a preference eligible candidate in a permanent position in the competitive service. Instead, it calls for a coordinated overview of the veterans’ preference process, due to Congress by May 1, 2017.
“Again, FMA is grateful for Congress’ important work on the 2017 NDAA," Johnson continued. "While it is not a perfect bill, it is vital to provide necessary resources for our national security, the men and women in uniform and the hundreds of thousands of civilians who work tirelessly to defend all Americans. FMA looks forward to implementing the bill and continuing its work advocating excellence in public service at the Department of Defense and across the federal government."