Both the House and Senate have readied their versions of the annual DoD authorization bill for floor voting without addressing the administration’s proposal to increase the maximum buyout payment at all agencies to the $40,000 allowed at DoD.
The Senate, especially, has been watched for such a provision since that chamber included the boost last year only to agree to drop it during a later conference with the House. The Trump administration, like the Obama administration before it, has argued that the $25,000 maximum that was first set more than 20 years ago is no longer a sufficient incentive to draw employees to resign or retire as agencies downsize or restructure. However, Congress so far has approved an increase only for DoD.
While an increase still could be attached to the bill, or to some other measure, inclusion in the committee-drafted versions of the DoD bill, an annual “must-pass,” was seen as the most promising route to enactment. The Senate could vote as soon as this week on its version (S-1790) while the House version (HR-2500) was approved at the committee level last week.
Both versions contain routine extensions of several special benefits policies applying to federal employees working in areas of active military operations as well as several provisions to improve recruitment and retention in a limited number of specialized or high-demand positions.