Republican leaders have stated their intent to pass another stopgap funding measure for the government extending only through March. By pushing off final decisions on the budget for the current fiscal year, Republicans might add policy provisions that might be vetoed by the Obama administration but that would be favored by the incoming Trump administration. The current temporary measure expires December 9, setting up a possible showdown before that date with Democrats, who generally want a measure extending to the end of the budget year, September 30. A temporary extension of current policies would lock in a pay raise averaging 1.6 percent, with some variation by locality, to be paid by default in January. The upcoming action on the budget is the last opportunity for Congress to set a different figure—not likely in any event, since Congress has followed a strategy all year of allowing a default raise by silence. Agency funding is one of the few must-pass items left before a planned adjournment December 16, a list that also includes the DoD authorization bill that contains several personnel policy changes including a possible boost in the maximum buyout payments there. Late bids are still possible on several other long-running issues, including a VA reform measure that would give the department a stronger hand in disciplining employees. However, that bill too might be pushed over into the new year to improve its chances of enactment under the Trump administration.
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