Recover Your Password

FMA Washington Report: June 7, 2024

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 monthly 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 Greg Stanford at gstanford@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.

Legislative Outreach
Fiscal Year 2025 Appropriations Process Moves Forward

Barely two months removed from finalizing Fiscal Year 2024 appropriations, Congress is in full swing in the funding process for Fiscal Year 2025. FY25 begins on October 1, 2024.

The House of Representatives passed the Military Construction-VA bill (H.R. 8580), the first of twelve annual appropriations bills that fund the government, by a mostly party-line vote of 209-197. The MilCon-VA bill is traditionally regarded as one of the least controversial funding bills to pass. Several policy riders were adopted to the underlying bill in committee that made the funding bill more partisan.

House leaders are determined to pass all 12 FY25 spending bills out of their chamber prior to the August recess. However, they face a steep challenge as there is currently no bipartisan agreement on funding levels.

House Armed Services Committee Advances Fiscal Year 2025 NDAA in Convincing Fashion; Full House to Consider Next Week

The House Armed Services Committee (HASC) advanced the Servicemember Quality of Life Investment Act and National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2025 (H.R. 8070) on May 22. The measure passed out of committee by a resounding bipartisan vote of 57-1.

“The most important investment we can make is in the foundation of our military: our people,” HASC Chairman Mike Rogers (R-AL) said in a statement upon final passage. “No servicemember should have to worry about making ends meet, putting food on the table, or having safe housing. The FY25 NDAA will boost compensation, improve housing, expand access to medical care, increase access to childcare, and provide support for the spouses of servicemembers. To strengthen our defense, the FY25 NDAA will support the continued modernization of our nuclear deterrent, invest in our Naval fleet, boost innovation, and revitalize our defense industrial base to ensure our warfighters have the capabilities they need to win on future battlefields.”

Senate Committee Considers Federal Employee Telework Legislation in Mark-Up

On May 15, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held a business meeting to mark up two telework bills among several other pieces of legislation. The committee advanced one of the telework bills and postponed consideration of the other. FMA has endorsed both pieces of telework legislation.

Telework Reform Act (S. 3015)

The committee passed the bipartisan Telework Reform Act (S. 3015), sponsored by Sens. James Lankford (R-OK) and Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) by a vote of 9-2.

S. 3015 codifies the definitions of telework and remote work. Additionally, it aims to enhance training and monitoring, accountability, and reporting for these arrangements. Further, it orders agencies to “identify potential value from increasing remote and other telework opportunities, which job classifications could benefit from being performed through telework, and expected cost savings and productivity outcomes resulting from the increased use of remote work and telework.”

GPO/WEP Repeal Effort Gains Momentum in Both House and Senate

The effort to repeal the Government Pension Offset and the Windfall Elimination Provision (GPO/WEP) gained even more steam in late May and early June. As you know, FMA supports the Social Security Fairness Act (H.R. 82/ S. 597), legislation that would repeal both provisions. Reps. Garret Graves (R-LA) and Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) are the lead sponsors of the House bill, while Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced the Senate version.

Most recently, on Friday, June 7, the U.S. Senate Finance Subcommittee on Social Security, Pensions, and Family Policy – Chaired by Sen. Brown – held a field hearing in Ohio titled “Keeping the Promise of Social Security for Ohio’s First Responders and Public Servants.” The hearing featured two panels of witnesses who testified about the unfairness of the GPO and WEP. Additionally, on May 23, the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus threw its support behind H.R. 82, the House bill.

OPM Acting Director Testifies Before House Oversight and Accountability

On May 22, the House Oversight and Accountability Committee held an oversight hearing on the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which oversees our nation’s largest employer – the federal government. OPM Acting Director Rob Shriver was the sole witness in the nearly 3-hour hearing. To view Shriver’s written testimony, click here. While members of the committee addressed a number of concerns, most members of Congress used their time to inquire or speak to the use of telework in the federal workforce and the potential return of Schedule F.

On the subject of telework, many members expressed concerns about unused workspace, referencing the occupancy rate of federal buildings. Shriver noted these were reasonable and valid questions that need to be studied and addressed, and pledged to engage in an ongoing dialogue with members on behalf of American taxpayers. He also referenced figures that more than 54 percent of the federal employees are in jobs that are unable to telework due to the fact the nature of their job requires them to be on the worksite.

Senate HSGAC Hearing on GAO 2024 Report on Fragmentation, Overlap and Duplication

On May 15, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Spending Oversight held a hearing to examine and discuss the findings of the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) 2024 Report on Opportunities to Reduce Fragmentation, Overlap and Duplication and Achieve Financial Benefits. The GAO releases this report each year on federal programs, agencies, offices, and initiatives that have duplicative goals or activities. GAO evaluates matters previously recommended and suggests new opportunities to find cost savings or enhanced revenue collection. The goal is to identify potential ways the government can be more efficient and effective in an effort to save taxpayer dollars. The Honorable Eugene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States, testified on behalf of the GAO before the Senate panel.

In this year’s 146-page report, the GAO identified 112 new matters and recommendations in 42 new topic areas for congressional and agency consideration to address. Among this year’s recommendations are: An initiatives for the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency to ensure its working capital fund cash balance is within operating range; a recommendation for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to improve sole proprietor tax compliance; using predictive models to make investment decisions and maintenance on federal buildings; building utilization benchmarks to identify and reduce underutilized office space; and, Department of Defense reducing the risk of overlapping management activities in medical facility management.

Senate AI Working Group Unveils Policy Roadmap

On May 15, the Bipartisan Senate Artificial Intelligence (AI) Working Group (“Working Group”) released a report titled “Driving U.S. Innovation in Artificial Intelligence.” The 31 page report, available here, outlines the benefits of AI, as well as a detailed policy roadmap for navigating the risks with this technology. The Working Group, made up of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sens. Mike Rounds (R-SD), Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Todd Young (R-IN), released the anticipated roadmap after gaining insights from educational briefings and forums held in the last year.

The AI policy roadmap features eight priority areas:

Agency Outreach
OPM Retirement Backlog at 8-Year Low

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced its current retirement backlog is down to its lowest level since May 2016. There are 14,035 outstanding retirement claims, a reduction of 13 percent since April. Interestingly, there were 14,035 outstanding retirement claims in May 2016, as well.

Data show OPM received 6,751 new claims in May 2024, a decrease of 150 from April, and processed nearly 8,800 in the month, resulting in the lowest backlog in eight years.

Get Involved At These Events!
Free Webinars Available for Feds on OPM’s Future of the Workforce Playbook

In February, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) shared a new Workforce of the Future Playbook supporting "a federal workforce that is inclusive, agile and engaged, and equipped with the right skills to deliver for the American people." The Playbook provides actions that agencies can take to build and equip the workforce of the future, incorporating new strategies and sharing best practices across government. OPM will make periodic updates on the Workforce of the Future webpage.

As we’ve shared in recent months, OPM has hosted free virtual informational webinars about specific topics from the playbook in the coming months to give managers and supervisors an opportunity to take a deep dive into the specific topics, such as implementing pooled hiring, skills-based hiring, cultivating early career talent, supporting employee health and well-being, fostering an inclusive work environment and much more. There is one more opportunity to hear from subject matter experts, learn from other agencies about promising practices, and engage in a lively Q&A session:

Save the Date: FMA August Recess Town Hall – July 18, 2024

On Thursday, July 18, at 8:00 PM Eastern, FMA National President Craig Carter and Director of Government Affairs Greg Stanford will host a virtual town hall to discuss how you can actively help advance FMA’s legislative agenda during the traditional Congressional August recess. We will talk about how you can connect with your elected representatives and their staff in their district and state offices, as well as current events impacting federal managers.

A link for all FMA members to join the virtual town hall will be posted and emailed closer to the event.

What's Affecting Feds?
Important Alert if you Participate in FSAFEDS

On May 24, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) shared a communication that HealthEquity Inc., which administers FSAFEDS for OPM, sent to FSAFEDS participants. If you participate in FSAFEDS you should have already received this, but we shared it as a stand-alone email and in the Washington Report for all FMA members to ensure they were informed.

Below is an example of the message:

Partnership for Public Service Releases Annual “Best Places to Work in the Federal Government” Rankings

On May 20, the Partnership for Public Service released its “Best Places to Work in the Federal Government” rankings for 2023. The Partnership bases its list on data collected by the annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS), administered by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Specifically, the Partnership borrows and packages OPM’s data from three FEVS questions:

• I recommend my organization as a good place to work.

• Considering everything, how satisfied are you with your job?

• Considering everything, how satisfied are you with your organization?


FMA Logo

Advocating Excellence in Public Service

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