The main advocate of a proposal to limit veterans preference to a first competitive service federal job has dropped the idea, after opposition from veterans groups. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, had inserted that provision in the Senate version of the annual DoD authorization bill (S-2943), which has been pending a House-Senate conference for several months. The measure is set to receive final voting in Congress in the post-election session. Shortly after the Senate voted to approve the host bill, the House voted as an amendment to a separate bill to make no changes in veterans preference. The proposal would have kept preference in its current state on a first competitive service hiring; it would not have affected the several non-competitive hiring authorities for veterans, nor their advantage in RIFs. The bill as passed by the Senate also would repeal an exception to the general policy against hiring military retirees into federal jobs within 180 days of their retirement, out of concern that the exception has been overused. It is unclear whether that, too, will be dropped.