After this week’s break, Congress will be in session for five of the next six weeks before recessing until September, a summer break lengthened this year due to the political conventions. In the working time just ahead Congress likely will address several key issues for federal employees, although final decisions could be left until September or later—after working in September, Congress will recess again until after the elections. These include a defense budget bill whose Senate version (S-2943), but not the House version, would raise the maximum buyout payment for DoD employees, but not those of other agencies, from $25,000 to $40,000. Both versions include numerous continued or new pay and other flexibilities for hiring and retaining DoD employees in in-demand occupations. The bill also could be the vehicle for government-wide restrictions on use of administrative leave—paid time off without charge to leave—when disciplinary actions are under consideration. Such language is in the House version but not the Senate version. The House has passed its version and the Senate could finish work on its bill as soon as next week. A conference will be needed to work out differences; commonly the DoD authorization bill isn’t ready for final voting until the fall.