FEDweek

Budget Would Impact Several Federal Workplace Policies

The Trump administration budget proposal contains several provisions potentially affecting the federal workforce apart from those affecting pay, benefits and overall employment levels:

It would end the ban on the “OMB Circular A-76” process under which agencies compare federal jobs with private sector bids for potential contracting out. There has been a moratorium against conducting such studies since 2009.

It calls for another round of DoD base consolidation and closures, to begin in 2021, saying the department has 20 percent excess capacity. DoD has not conducted a base closings round since 2005 and has regularly asked for another round in recent years. However, Congress always has refused, citing the disruption and over-estimated savings of the several rounds of closings that resulted in the loss or transfer of tens of thousands of DoD civilian employee jobs.

It assumes enactment of postal reform legislation that would among other things move postal employees and retirees into a separate health plan within the FEHB and require postal retirees to enroll in Medicare Part B.

It would eliminate the Education Department program under which federal employees and others in public service jobs can have certain federal student loans forgiven after 10 years of staying current on payments. The separate program under which agencies can pay up to $10,000 a year/$60,000 lifetime as recruitment and retention incentives to their employees apparently would not be affected.

It is silent regarding use of buyout and early retirement incentives for agencies that would downsize due to budget restrictions or due to the administration’s order to review their operations for efficiency with an eye to reducing their workforces. Those are to result in preliminary plans by June 30 with a proposal to Congress early next year of changes that would require legislation.

It anticipates that those reviews will produce recommendations to speed up and simplify the process of disciplining employees for misconduct or poor performance but makes no specific recommendations for now. It further calls for greater rewards for top performers although also making no recommendations pending the outcome of the agency reviews.