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…..Read More
Last month, President Trump signed H.R. 6157, a bill providing Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 funding for several agencies covered by the Department of Defense and Labor-Health and Human Services appropriations bills as well as a Continuing Resolution (CR) for other agencies that have otherwise not received FY19 appropriations, thereby preventing a partial government shutdown until December 7, 2018. Agencies funded by the Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, Legislative Branch, and Energy and Water appropriations bill received their full-year funding under previously enacted legislation.
EPA is one of the agencies….Read More
Congress has been working in recent months to pass FY19 appropriations bills in small groups, each called a “minibus,” after President Trump expressed displeasure in the spring at signing an omnibus appropriations bill, consisting of all 12 delayed FY18 bills, and stated that he would never do that again. As of today, both the Senate and House have passed the so-called minibus I, H.R. 5895, consisting of full year funding for the Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs funding measures. The President is expected to sign the bill.
This week….Read More
The start of the 2019 Fiscal Year (FY) is only six weeks away. The fall funding situation remains unclear with a contentious Supreme Court battle brewing, the mid-term elections approaching, and the President’s past stated opposition to a Continuing Resolution (CR) for FY19.
The House and the Senate passed versions of bills that contain significant differences that need to be resolved before they can be enacted. Neither the House nor the Senate have passed all 12 appropriations bills. If Congress fails to to enact any of these bills prior to October 1st, the government will shut down unless Congress were to pass a CR.
NTEU will monitor the budget process and work with members of Congress to avoid a government shutdown. However, should one occur, NTEU will fight to ensure that all federal workers receive their paychecks on time.
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.
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.
There are only a couple legislative days until the House recesses. Given that, another CR is likely. There doesn't seem to be much appetite for another shutdown, however. There does seem to be more movement toward an actual budget deal though, so it remains possible. Here is our latest update from our Hill colleague....Read More
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....Read More
Here's the latest from our Capitol Hill budget contact....Read More
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....Read More
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.......
From a friend of NTEU Chapter 280.....
As feared, House leaders today kept their promise to conservatives and defense hawks by releasing a strange cromnibus (combination of CR & Omnibus) designed keep the federal government operating after December 22nd and provide full-year FY 2018 funding only for the military. This bill is H.J. Res. 124 (113).
This bill provides....Read More
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.....Read More
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.
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!
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....Read More
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.
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!....Read More
From NTEU National.....
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.