Congress To Deal With Host Of Financial Measures Upon Return
Both the Senate and House recessed without dealing with a few important monetary issues affecting both federal employees and retirees. However, that doesn’t mean they left it alone entirely. Congress has laid out the foundation that will lead to some decisions that will be made in the near future.
The House created a budget outline that would increase the contributions that employees would have to make toward their retirement, ending the FERS system altogether. FERS is the special retirement supplement plan for certain federal employees who must retire before the actual retirement age.
Full details are likely to be disclosed in another measure, but any outline is likely to be met with opposition and backlash from Democrats and certain members of the Republican Party.
The House, on the other hand, did make a little progress on its appropriations bill for the next fiscal year, which begins in October. It passed a measure that ties several bills together that have made it through the committees.
There’s been no news regarding the spending levels for agencies, which must be in place by Oct. 1 to avoid a partial government shutdown – similar to the one in 2013. Nothing has been brought forth regarding the federal debt ceiling either, which must be in place by the end of September. These deadlines are often used as a control mechanism in tax and spending policy decisions.
During a vote on a spending bill, the House dismissed the Trump Administration’s idea to resurrect the Circular A-76 and its request to close several DoD bases – a position taken during the passing of a separate budget DoD bill.
Both bills would be addressed after the Senate came back from its recess.
Not mentioned in another spending bill is the potential for federal employee raises – perhaps the 1.9% President Donald Trump suggested. The House Appropriations Committee appears poised to give this raise. The Senate hasn’t given an indication of what it’ll do.
Neither the House nor Senate have considered the administration’s idea to increase the buyout maximum of $25,000 to $40,000. The House defense bill did approve the extension of the DoDs existing authority to pay the increased amount. When looked at from the agency’s standpoint, providing buyouts makes sense since it can recoup its losses without filling positions.
What’s not known is if the buyouts will be spread across the government. Multiple agencies have been keeping an eye on that possibilities since the first budget plans were lined out by the administration. However, as it currently says, the spending bills going through Congress provide additional funding than the White House has suggested.
Again, nothing is solidified until Congress returns and makes a decision.