Congress plans to work only through the end of next week before taking a summer recess made longer than usual by the political conventions, not returning until after Labor Day. There is still a chance for movement on several key issues of interest to federal employees and retirees before that break, although final action likely couldn’t come until September at the earliest—and possibly not until a post-election session, since Congress again will be in recess October through mid-November. The House, for example, may vote on the general government appropriations bill, which it had scheduled for a floor vote but then pulled back before taking off last week; that bill among other things is silent on a federal raise for January, once again setting up a potential raise by default, most likely 1.6 percent. There’s also a chance, although a lesser one, of the Senate taking up its version before the break; that bill also is silent on a raise. A group of employee organizations recently once again urged a raise of 5.3 percent, although at this point such a move would require a floor amendment, an unlikely prospect—and one that would risk a counter-proposal to deny any raise. The two bills differ on issues including funding for the IRS and certain other agencies funded by the bill, as well as on the moratorium on Circular A-76 contracting out studies. The Senate bill would keep that ban while the House bill would lift it.
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