Fedweek

With Congress on a general two-week recess, a number of issues of importance to federal employees and retirees have been delayed yet again.

During a three-week work period that followed the annual summer break of more than a month, Congress did enact a temporary extension of agency spending authority through November 21, lifting at least until then the threat of a partial government shutdown. House leaders say they believe that work on the 12 regular appropriations bills for the fiscal year that started yesterday (October 1) should be finished by then, but it has been common in recent years for further extensions into December for at least some of those bills.

Among them is the general government measure (S-2524, HR-3351) that will determine the January 2020 federal employee raise—almost certainly either 2.6 percent across the board or that plus another 0.5 percentage points for locality pay—and whether language will be included to bar agencies from unilaterally changing policies that previously were negotiated and to prevent the administration from completing the breakup of OPM—its background investigations division already has been shifted to DoD—by sending the remainder of its operations to GSA and its policy-setting responsibilities to OMB.

Agency reorganizations also are at issue in several of the other appropriations bills, including language in House versions to stop moves out of the Washington, D.C. areas of components of Agriculture and Interior.