DoD Authorization Bill is a Key Priority

One measure that Congress has passed annually for many years is the DoD authorization, which needs to clear a House-Senate conference and then another round of voting in both chambers before enactment. The two versions differ in several ways regarding personnel policies at the largest department, including language in the Senate version, but not the House version, to raise the maximum buyout payment there from $25,000 to $40,000. The Senate version also contains government-wide language to apply veterans preference only to an individual’s first federal competitive service job (it would not affect non-competitive hiring authorities for veterans, nor their advantage in RIFs). The House version does not address veterans preference. However, that chamber approved an amendment to a separate bill rejecting any change in veterans preference. Both versions also contain numerous special recruiting and retention authorities, some of them new and others extensions of existing policies, for hard-to-fill and specialized positions.