Get it delivered right to your inbox!
Congress is back in session this week after recessing since late September but mainly to deal with organizational issues; it will recess again next week and then work three weeks until a planned adjournment for the year. In that time, Congress will have to decide on funding for federal agencies, with the current temporary measure set to expire December 9. It’s been widely expected that Congress would extend spending through next September 30 at roughly current levels; however, some Republicans favor only a short-term extension for some or all agencies, lasting only into the early months of 2017. That would put the budget for the rest of the fiscal year in the hands of the new Congress and the new administration, creating an opportunity to add policies that would not get past the threat of a veto from the Obama administration. Democrats meanwhile favor full-year funding for all agencies, potentially setting up another budget showdown in early December. Another high priority for both parties is passing the DoD authorization bill—it has been in a House-Senate conference for months—which contains a number of special pay and other policies for high-demand positions there along with the potential to boost the buyout maximum there from $25,000 to $40,000. Further efforts also might be attempted on issues such as postal reform, VA reform, extending probationary periods, restricting administrative leave and limiting the exceptional premium increases applying to some enrollees—including many CSRS retirees—in Medicare Part B. Also possible are hearings on the recent premium increases in the FLTCIP long-term care insurance program.