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Federal Managers Association

Washington Report

  • As Members of Congress continued work on a spending plan for the remainder of the fiscal year, members of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Susan Collins (R-ME) expressed to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Ranking Member Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) the need to fully fund temporary duty assignment (TDY) per diem allowances. In November 2014, the Department of Defense (DOD) reduced per diem allowance rates in an effort to cut costs. Those on TDY between 30 and 180 days saw a reduction of rates by 25 percent, while those on TDY beyond 180 days, saw a reduction of 45 percent. The Federal Managers Association (FMA) has long called for reinstating previous funding levels to ensure that civilian defense employees will not have to bear financial burdens while on TDY.

    Senators Schatz and Collins serve states that house DOD Naval Shipyards, the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. As many of their constituents are impacted by these cuts, the Senators commented to Senate Appropriations Committee leadership, “We are concerned that such cuts may affect mission accomplishment and hurt morale… We should not force personnel to shoulder the burden of expenses related to basic necessities such as food, laundry, and transportation to and from their duty assignments while on official travel.” FMA thanked Senators Schatz and Collins for their efforts, stating, “As many of your constituents and FMA members serve at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, FMA appreciates your efforts to ensure TDY per diem allowances are fully funded.”

    FMA also reached out to other Senators who serve states with a naval shipyard, asking to join Senators Schatz and Collins in their support of the civilian defense workforce. In a letter to the eight Senators who also serve shipyards, FMA commented on how the cuts are already affecting the mission and goals of DOD, “These extreme cuts put undue financial burdens on these dedicated employees who struggle to meet these per diem requirements or are forced to make up any cost differences out of their own pockets due to the fact that these new rates will price them out of markets... FMA is already seeing its members reluctant to serve TDY as they already have mortgages, car payments, and child care costs at home.” While the House fiscal year 2016 National Defense Authorization Act included a repeal of these drastic cuts, it was not included in final language, nor was it included in the Bipartisan Budget Act (P.L. 114-74). FMA hoped that the repeal of these drastic cuts will be included in the spending levels for the remainder of FY16, but will continue working to repeal the cuts by other means.

    To read the full letters from FMA on TDY, please visit the Legislative Action Center of the FMA website, www.fedmanagers.org.


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