The major bill affecting personnel policies that is closest to enactment is the annual DoD authorization, which has passed both chambers but with important differences. The Senate version would boost the buyout maximum for DoD employees from $25,000 to $40,000 while the House did not address that issue. Traditionally, agencies have been most willing to offer buyouts early in a fiscal year so that they can recoup the cost during that same year by eliminating the position vacated. However, it’s questionable whether the DoD bill can be completed before the autumn recess. Meanwhile, veterans organizations are starting to build opposition to another provision in the Senate bill, to apply veterans preference to only a veteran’s first federal job. One sign of the outcome of that issue could come soon, however. An amendment to block that change has been prepared for the House to consider when voting on the general government spending bill. While the administration asked for the increase in the buyout maximum, it did not ask for the change in veterans preference — although it has not objected to it, either. Both versions meanwhile contain numerous special hiring and pay authorities targeted at hazardous or in-demand positions that are not controversial.
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