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FMA Washington Report: October 13 2021

This report provides an update on issues affecting federal managers. As always, I encourage you to visit www.fedmanagers.org on a regular basis for more information on these and other matters.

Also, be sure to look for the FMA Grassroots Update, where we offer links to action letters and FMA-PAC matters we do not address in the Washington Report. The grassroots newsletter is sent exclusively to non-governmental email addresses to avoid any Hatch Act violations. If you are not receiving it, contact the national office to provide your non-governmental email address.

Please feel free to provide feedback any time by emailing Adam Kay at akay@fedmanagers.org or by calling the National Office at (703) 683-8700. Thank you for your membership in FMA. It’s an honor to represent your interests before Congress and the administration.

FMA Working For You!
A Two-Year Probationary Period for the DoD, If We Can Keep It

In the Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), FMA succeeded in securing a two-year probationary period for the Department of Defense (DOD). This two-year probationary period serves a critical role in ensuring that managers have the necessary time to properly train and assess new hires. This period is of benefit to both managers and to new employees, as it spares managers from having to choose to either prematurely remove an employee who may prove to be an exemplary federal employee with additional training, or to allow someone to pass out of the probationary period who will never be capable of properly executing their role, making them exceptionally difficult to remove.

Legislative Outreach
Shutdown Averted for Now, As Appropriations Process Continues

In yet another verse of the song that has become disturbingly familiar to feds, Congress averted a government shutdown with mere hours left in the fiscal year by passing a Continuing Resolution (CR). FMA National President Craig Carter issued the following statement on the CR:

NDAA Nears Finish Line, But Still Needs Funding

On September 23, 2021, the House passed a $778 billion National Defense Authorization Act by a bipartisan vote of 316-113. FMA National President Craig Carter issued a statement on the House’s passage of the draft NDAA, excerpted below:

Coming Soon – an Operational MSPB

President Biden has recently nominated Tristan Leavitt as the third and final member of the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). On paper, the MSPB is an independent, quasi-judicial federal agency that exists to hear appeals from federal employees who are subjected to adverse actions by their agency; for example, a whistleblower who was subjected to a suspension or demotion as a result of their actions would appeal their case to the MSPB. Unfortunately, “on paper” is the main place that the MSPB has existed for several years now. The last time the MSPB had a quorum and was able to finalize decisions was in January 2017, more than four years ago. The term of the final member on the board expired in 2019, leaving the MSPB completely without members for more than two years.

Get Involved At These Events!
FMA Regions 3 & 4 Convention

Representatives from the FMA National Office Adam Kay and Greg Stanford, as well as FMA National President Craig Carter, attended the FMA Regions 3 & 4 Convention in Vacaville, California. FMA members representing chapters from Indiana to Hawaii, and from Texas to Alaska, were in attendance.

What's Affecting Feds?
Raising the Debt Ceiling – Failure is Not an Option

It’s time to talk about the debt ceiling, and why it matters to feds. As of October 13, the House and Senate have both passed legislation to raise the debt ceiling by $480 billion. This is enough to last until early December, kicking the can ever so slightly farther down the road without actually solving the problem. Currently, the federal government is slightly over $28 trillion in debt, as spending money is popular, but raising taxes to pay for it is not. In order to pay back the debts already incurred Congress needs to raise the debt ceiling. If it does not raise the debt ceiling, the government defaults on its debts.

Covid-19 Vaccine Mandates, Guidelines, and Legislation

On Thursday, September 9, President Biden issued an executive order mandating that all federal workers, including those working remotely, must be vaccinated against Covid-19 by November 22 or risk disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment. FMA is not a union and does not possess the collective bargaining rights possessed by unions. However, we are regularly attending meetings with the Safer Federal Workforce task force to advocate on your behalf. We have two main priorities in this: One priority is to ensure the physical health and wellbeing of federal employees. The other, equally important, is ensuring that your rights as a federal employee are respected.

Details on the 2022 FEHB Open Season

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced the 2022 Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program rates today. The open season for health benefits, dental and vision insurance, and flexible spending accounts will be November 8 through December 13, 2021.

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Why Join FMA?

The Association’s considerable influence stems from a team approach to advocacy. When lawmakers or agency decision-makers consider proposals that could adversely affect the management of the federal workforce, they quickly realize that TEAM FMA stands together to protect the interests of all its members.

Contact FMA

FMA National Office
  • 1641 Prince Street
  • Alexandria, VA 22314-2818
  • Phone: (703) 683-8700
  • Fax: (703) 683-8707
  • Email: info@fedmanagers.org
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