Next Shutdown Deadline March 23

 The budget deal decided the size of the overall federal pie, but not the size of each slice agencies will receive.

The budget deal decided the size of the overall federal pie, but not the size of each slice agencies will receive.

By now you've heard there was a budget deal signed by the President. The deal re-opened the shuttered federal government, but only through March 23.

It also sets the overall amount of money the federal government has, but not individual agency allocations. As Politico noted, it sets the overall size of the pie, but did not establish the size of the slices that each agency gets.

Between now and March 23, Congress needs to fight about the appropriation that each agency will receive. That exercise needs to be completed by March 23. If they don't succeed by the deadline, the government will either again close its doors, or they will need to pass another continuing resolution.

If you're concerned about EPA's budget or other issues, click here and email your Congressperson.

Budget Deal in the Works, CR Will Be Necessary

 Annual budget process flow chart. This is how its supposed to work.

Annual budget process flow chart. This is how its supposed to work.

I'm sure you've already heard about the budget deal being worked out in the Senate today. We're on Capitol Hill this week at NTEU's legislative conference. What we've learned from our discussions with Senators, Congresspersons, and legislative staff is that it will likely take a couple weeks to work out the budget deal between the house and the Senate. That will require one or two new continuing resolutions (CRs).

Staff we spoke with expect the CR to be voted on today and to pass because neither party has an appetite for another shutdown. That will give both houses of Congress time to work out an "omnibus" budget deal.

Speaker Pelosi seems, however, unhappy that there's no DACA-fix included in the budget deal. Staff nonetheless expect that this objection will not stop a budget deal that's in the works.

The wildcard is, of course, President Trump. It is unknown whether the President will sign the omnibus into law. We'll keep you posted as we learn more.

The Clock is Running on Next Shutdown Threat

Unless you were on another planet, you know by now that another short-term continuing resolution (CR) was passed to keep the government open. This CR expires at midnight on February 8, 2018, which means that if a budget deal is not reached in Congress by then and signed by the President, the government will again shut down.

EPA announced before the last shutdown that it had funds to operate for about a week. Assuming that's true, and knowing that we've used one of those days of funds while the rest of the government was shut down, it is likely that EPA will be able to operate through February 14 or 15 before needing to shutter the doors.

NTEU National was on the Hill fighting for us and obtained two large victories....

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Ho, Ho, Ho! Shutdown looming!

From our government budget and politics contact. Looks like a game of chicken is unfolding. Democrats and Republicans are both saying that a government shutdown will hurt the other guys more than their side. As a result, it's looking more likely that January 19 will roll around without a budget or continuing resolution (CR). Hopefully cooler heads will prevail. Read on for more detail from our budget contact....

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Shutdown Averted: Congress Passes Spending Bill

 The Grinch has been stopped at the border. January 19 is the next showdown.

The Grinch has been stopped at the border. January 19 is the next showdown.

Thursday night Congress averted a government shutdown, but only temporarily. According to Roll Call, "the Senate voted 66-32 to clear a continuing resolution that would fund the government through Jan. 19, provide funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program and community health centers through March 31, appropriate $2.1 billion for a private care access program for veterans and temporarily extend Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act until Jan. 19."  

This comes on the heels of the House's vote earlier. The bill now heads to the President's desk. The President is expected to sign the bill.

We'll be back at this brinkmanship come mid-January. Stay tuned.......

Continuing Resolution Expires December 8. Then What?

On December 8th, the current Continuing Resolution (CR) funding the federal government for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 expires and the temporary debt limit suspension in place will be lifted.  To date, none of the FY 2018 appropriations bills have been enacted and there remains no agreement on the so-called spending caps (sequestration).

On December 8th, funding for federal agencies expires and the temporary debt limit suspension will be lifted.  Congress must vote before then to pass a CR, an omnibus appropriations bill, or some combination thereof to keep the government open.....

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Fitness Center Update

We've been negotiating with management and they've been negotiating with Federal Occupational Health, the contractor that runs the headquarters' fitness centers, to see if there are ways to keep the fitness centers open despite the Administrator's refusal to spend money on employee health.

We are hopeful that, working with management, we'll be able to keep open both the Potomac Yard and Federal Triangle fitness centers and that they transition to EPA not funding them will be seamless to employees.

The next update to this topic will come in a members-only email, so if you're interested in keeping abreast of the topic, join Chapter 280 now.

House Committee Passes EPA Budget Bill

Today the U.S. House of Representatives Interior & Environment Committee passed a funding bill for EPA, the Department of the Interior, and related agencies. The bill provides EPA a bit more than $7.5 billion, a 6.6% cut. Coupled with the 1% cut for fiscal year 2017, EPA would be down 7.6% if the bill passes and is signed into law.

There some question about whether the EPA funding bill will pass Congress. Legislators are still discussing an "omnibus" spending bill, that would lump all the non-defense agencies together. No telling what would come out of that process.

We'll keep you posted!

Good? Budget News...

Politico is reporting that the U.S. House of Representatives' Interior & Environment Appropriations Subcommittee "finalized a fiscal 2018 Interior and Environment spending package" with only "slight reduction in funds from current levels...."  Politico reports that the bill would give agencies covered by the spending bill, including EPA, "$31.5 billion for fiscal year 2018 compared to $32.37 billion in current funding."

While cuts to EPA's programs are likely to negatively impact environmental protection....

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Congressional Letter in Support of Feds

Yesterday, 102 Members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), strongly opposing the assaults on federal pay and retirement contained in the administration’s fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget proposal.

Calling the administration’s proposals that impact the take-home pay and retirement benefits for current federal employees and retirees “destructive,” the legislators asked both congressional leaders to block any effort to bring such proposals to the House floor for votes. They pointed out that no other group has been asked to sacrifice more for deficit reduction than the federal workforce.

Federal employees have already been deprived of $182 billion in pay and benefits. The FY 2018 budget would add another $149 billion in cuts.

We appreciate these members’ support in fighting to stop pay and retirement cuts, and for holding Congress accountable to keep its promises to its workforce and retirees. Clearly, these members of Congress recognize the valuable service provided by our members to the nation. NTEU will continue to work with these members to “oppose any effort to balance the budget on the backs of public servants,” as the legislators wrote in their letter

To learn more about the budget and legislation, please visit the NTEU legislative action center.

 

Pioneering Fulltime Telework at EPA (Part 2 of 2)

Since my first installment of Pioneering Fulltime Telework at the EPA back in October of 2016, there have been a lot of changes across the federal government. For the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it is likely that we will be doing more with less in the years to come – smaller budgets, smaller staff, and a smaller physical footprint.

Thomas Edison said: “The value of an idea lies in the using of it.” Fulltime telework has value – actually a lot of value – if it is used. The smallest expansion of fulltime telework at the EPA could save millions of taxpayer dollars while meeting and exceeding the business needs of the Agency.

Imagine if EPA encouraged just 20% of its workforce to fulltime telework, it would slash nearly 1% of its annual budget – some $45.6 million!....

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Shutdown Averted: Congress Passes Spending Bill

From NTEU National.....

The Senate today followed the House in approving a [spending package] to fund the federal government though the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year. The president is expected to sign the measure before funding expires Friday night. Passage of this bipartisan spending bill eliminates the threat of another government shutdown for the next five months.

While NTEU is pleased that the $18 billion in cuts originally proposed were not part of the final agreement, many federal agencies remain underfunded and understaffed after several years of cuts and inadequate funding. 

As the debate shifts to the fiscal 2018 congressional budget, NTEU is pressing for adequate and stable funding for the federal government so that agencies have the resources they need and federal employees are not left anxious with another shutdown countdown.

In the passed spending bill, the Environmental Protection Agency received an $81.4 million decrease from fiscal year 2016 (FY16). EPA was operating on a continuing resolution, allowing it to spend at FY16 levels. The $81.4 million budget cut amounts to approximately a 1% spending reduction.

Government Shutdown Looms...Again

Roll Call is reporting that another government shutdown and furloughs may be in the works.

The article notes that "congressional negotiators had been making good progress but the White House has not been constructive." The story quotes staffers who say that it will be difficult, given the state of negotiations, "to meet the April 28 funding deadline and thus a short-term continuing resolution would be needed."

But Democratic leaders, ....

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CR Update: Congress Needs to Get it In Gear, Soon

EPA's current funding expires, with much of the federal government's, on Friday, April 28th. Both Congress and the President must act in order to prevent a government shutdown due to a lapse in appropriations.

Congressional leadership and the administration are in negotiations regarding appropriations legislation that would keep federal agencies operating for the remainder of fiscal year 2017, which ends on September 30. With Congress heading into a two-week recess....

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Federal Budget Update

President Trump submitted a supplemental request to Congress for fiscal year (FY) 2017 funding. Current FY 2017 funding expires on April 28th.

Congress is scheduled to be in recess the weeks of April 10th and 17th, leaving only five legislative days upon their return before funding expires. Congress must either pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) or pass eleven remaining appropriations bills before this date. Failure to act will cause another government shutdown.

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