Government Funding Update

Both chambers will be in recess next week with legislators in their states and districts for the Thanksgiving holiday. When Congress returns the week of November 26th, there will be two weeks remaining before the current Continuing Resolution (CR)--for agencies that did not receive full-year Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 funding--expires midnight on December 7th between Friday and Saturday…..

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Senators Challenge Administration on Failure to Follow Court Order

A few weeks back, NTEU and other federal labor unions won an historic victory and injunction against the anti-employee executive orders (EOs) issued by President Trump. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson enjoined “the President’s subordinates from implementing or giving effect to” the overturned portions of the EOs. Agencies, however, have continued to give force and effect to struck-down provisions of these EOs at the bargaining table and in other fora.

On Thursday, sixteen Senators….

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Update on Legislation Introduced to Take Away Employee Rights

Recently, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee met to consider several anti-employee and anti-union bills.

The proposed bills would eliminate collective bargaining on Information Technology decisions, upend the role of the Merit Systems Protection Board….

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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.

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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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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NTEU Wins Transit Subsidy Settlement

NTEU successfully negotiated a transit-subsidy reimbursement for employees for owed back transit benefits, and the deal has now been signed.

Recall a few years back Congress increased the amount of transit subsidy for employees from $130 per month maximum to $250 per month for those with higher transit costs. Despite Congress increasing the subsidy, EPA refused to increase the benefits, costing employees thousands of dollars in lost benefits.

NTEU challenged EPA's failure and the case has now settled.  You will be able to claim your actual transit costs up to the maximum of $250 for any time after Congress increased the amount that EPA did not allow. You will have 30 days to submit your claim after EPA makes the official announcement.

We are trying to get the agency to give to employees actual amounts employees were reimbursed, but thus far have been unsuccessful. As a result, you may need to reconstruct the amounts you were paid yourself based upon your own records. We know this is difficult to do and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. But given that you could be reimbursed around $3,000, it is worth your time.

This is another benefit brought to you by NTEU. If you have not yet joined, please do so now by clicking here and filling out the SF-1187 dues withholding form. The more employees who join, the stronger we are in negotiations such as these and able to get your direct benefits.

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!

Cutting Federal Pension System Would Add to Nation’s Retirement Crisis

The administration’s forthcoming budget proposal for 2018 is expected to include devastating cuts to the retirement benefits of federal employees, marking yet another unwarranted attack on middle-class civil servants that the National Treasury Employees Union will strongly oppose.
 
The proposed changes will cut the pay of federal employees by increasing their retirement contributions repeatedly for consecutive years. This would easily negate....

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Congressional Review Act

Roll Call ran an interesting article today on the Congressional Review Act and its possible use beyond the CRA's normal 60-legislative-day limit. Recall that the CRA allows Congress to veto an agency's rule before the rule goes into effect, provided that Congress acts to veto it before the end of 60 legislative days.

The article notes....

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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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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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Cuts are coming, but......

....the question is:  when? 

You've probably seen the Greenwire story covering the budget cuts at EPA announced by the White House today. But while the White House wants to significantly cut EPA, there are a number of procedural obstacles in their way that would delay those cuts, hopefully into the next fiscal year. Here's why.....

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Rally at U.S. Capitol

Please join NTEU members from across the country as we rally at the U.S. Capitol for fair pay, a secure retirement, and respect.

The rally happens:

when:  Thursday, March 2, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
where:  U.S. Capitol, West Front Lawn

Use your lunch time to rally. Anytime over your normal lunch period is considered non-work time and should be accounted for through leave, credit hours, or other absence time.

We really need you to come for this. Now, more than ever it's important that EPA employees stand together.