Get it delivered right to your inbox!
Congress is set to take its annual summer recess at the end of next week, lasting through Labor Day, with a high likelihood of leaving behind much unfinished business beyond the issue of benefits for victims of the computer hacks. One measure that has been hung up is the financial services-general government spending bill that typically serves as the vehicle for setting the following January’s federal pay raise; the House may yet take up that measure before the recess, although it appears unlikely that the bill will advance in the Senate by then. So far, all indications have been that Congress once again will remain silent on the raise, allowing the White House’s proposal of 1.3 percent–which would have to be repeated in a late-August order, under this scenario–to take effect by default. That bill also has sparked a battle over funding for the IRS that translates into employment levels. It now is almost certain that Congress will need to pass temporary funding by the September 30 end of the current fiscal year to prevent a partial government shutdown. Also apparently to be left until September is another annual must-pass bill, the DoD authorization. Both chambers have passed their versions and a conference between them has started, although much work remains. The Senate version includes several provisions aimed at civilian employees there, including making performance ratings the first determinant of retention in RIFs and doubling the standard probationary period at the department to two years. One measure that House leaders have said they will take up before recessing, however, is a bill (HR-1994) to largely extend restrictions on appeal rights enacted last year affecting senior executives at the VA to the entire VA workforce, while lengthening the probationary period there to 18 months.