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FMA Washington Report: October 12, 2020
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.

Be on the lookout 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 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
A Continuing Resolution Funding FY2021Through December 11, 2020
On September 30, the U.S. Senate approved a Continuing Resolution (CR) providing government funding through December 11, 2020. The final vote was 84 - 10. President Trump signed the CR into law in the wee hours of Thursday, October 1.

In a press release, FMA National President Craig Carter stated, “A CR is preferable to a government shutdown. But preferable in this case does not amount to desirable, except when put against the catastrophe of a government shutdown. Regrettably, this is the exact situation we find ourselves in yet again.”
FMA Endorses Van Hollen Legislation to Make Payroll Tax Deferral Optional
On October 9, Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) announced legislation to make the payroll tax deferral outlined by President Trump optional for any worker whose employer chooses to participate, including federal employees and service members. FMA endorsed the legislation, which is currently cosponsored by more than 15 Senators.

FMA National President Craig Carter offered a statement of support for the legislation in Senator Van Hollen's announcement:
FMA Endorses Hirono/Kilmer Legislation to Protect Annual Leave for All Feds
On Wednesday, September 30, Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) introduced the Federal Worker Leave Fairness Act (S. 4777), legislation that would protect accrued use-it-or-lose-it annual leave for all federal employees when a national pandemic prevents them from taking off of work. FMA worked with Sen. Hirono and her staff in crafting the bill and strongly endorsed it. Representative Derek Kilmer (D-WA) introduced identical legislation, H.R. 8457, in the House of Representatives. 

FMA National President Craig Carter offered this statement, included in Sen. Hirono's press release upon introduction:
FMA Backs Kilmer Bill to Protect Disabled Veteran Leave
On October 8, Representative Derek Kilmer (D-WA) introduced the Federal Worker Leave Fairness Act, a bipartisan bill that would extend disabled veteran leave to 24 months for any veteran who entered the program between March 2019 and June of 2021. Additionally, the bill would restore leave that has already been lost to any disabled veteran who entered the program in March of 2019 or later.

In 2015, Congress passed the Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act (P.L. 114-75), which created disabled veteran leave in the federal workforce. FMA’s own Sue Thatch, of FMA Chapter 21 (Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point) originated the idea and helped FMA take the initiative to Congress. Under the law, an employee hired on or after November 5, 2016, who is a veteran with a service-connected disability rating of 30 percent or more from the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) of the Department of Veterans Affairs is entitled to up to 104 hours of disabled veteran leave for the purposes of undergoing medical treatment for such disability.
What's Affecting Feds?
Update on Nomination to Lead Office of Personnel Management (OPM)
Last month we reported on the confirmation hearing for John Gibbs, President Trump’s nominee to lead OPM. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee was scheduled to vote on his nomination on September 16. However, the committee postponed the vote to a later date. Michael Rigas continues to serve as acting director. FMA will continue to monitor developments and report on any movement regarding Mr. Gibbs’ nomination.
Agency Outreach
Update on Gender Pay Equity at the United States Marshals Service
FMA Chapter 373, our chapter at the United States Marshals Service (USMS), has expanded on their efforts to achieve gender pay equity at the USMS with an updated letter to USMS Director Washington. Their updated letter includes detailed figures and analysis of the problem, as well as common-sense policy recommendations for mitigating it.
To read their full open letter, please click here.

Media Matters
FEDManager.com Publishes FMA’s “Regular Disorder”
FMA writes a monthly column, “Hear it from FMA,” for FEDManager.com. This month we chose to highlight the state of Congress, and the concept of regular order. Ironically, regular order for appropriations has not been a regular occurrence for almost a quarter century. While the Senate is designed to be a consensus-building deliberative institution, it has turned into a body in which even funding the government is a partisan issue, annual budgets are rarely passed without endless and costly continuing resolutions (and some years go entirely without an annual budget), and compromise has largely been replaced with a brutal ethos focused on ramming through, or blocking, bills on completely partisan lines. 

In the piece, we note, “There has not been a year without at least one continuing resolution (CR) in this millennium. In 2007, 2011, and 2013, Congress relied instead on inefficient and costly CRs for the entire year. And the problem is getting worse. According to a 2019 Congressional Research Service report, “All told, since 2010, DOD has spent 1,186 days—more than 39 months—operating under a CR, compared to 259 days—less than nine months—during the eight years preceding 2010.”


Click here to access the Government Affairs Update Archive.