Fedweek

Another high priority bill (S-2921), which could reach a floor vote in the Senate in the upcoming weeks, would shorten the appeals process for VA employees below the executive ranks and allow VA SESers to challenge disciplinary actions only to an internal review board. Momentum for the bill has slowed, though, as a dozen federal employee unions and management organizations have asked the Senate to delete those provisions. “If enacted, the proposals could set a precedent leading to change in other federal components that eviscerate important safeguards long intended to protect against the abuse and politicization of an impartial federal civil service,” said their letter to Senate leaders. However, a sponsor of an earlier plan to impose even stricter limits, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has raised the prospect of blocking the measure on grounds that the existing provisions are actually too lenient toward employee misconduct. That echoes arguments made by Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., head of the veterans committee in the House, which already has passed more restrictive language that Rubio has sponsored in the Senate.