Government affairs

Legislative Updates

OGR committee marks up anti-fed measures

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee (OGR) met this Tuesday to markup several pieces of legislation that attack federal employees. Five bills were considered and are described below:

  • H.R 3023 extends the probationary period for all federal employees from one to two years. Opponents of the legislation, such as OGR Subcommittee on Government Operations Ranking Member Gerry Connolly (D-VA), suggested that in place of this bill, efforts should focus on “raising expectations and properly training supervisors.” Rep. Buck (R-CO), the author of the bill, said that “supervisors do not feel they have time to assess new employees,” while OGR Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) said that the bill would create a solution to how “bad apples get into the system.” The measure passed the committee.
  • H.R 4360, The Official Personnel File Enhancement Act, would allow managers to include notations in an employee’s personnel file. Notations are often made regarding disciplinary action and could potentially prevent a previous employee from being hired. Offered by OGR Chairman Chaffetz, H.R. 4360 aims to allow agencies to see any previous notations before hiring an employee who previously worked for the federal government. During the hearing, an amendment was added by Connolly to ensure due process continued once a notation had been made. The bill passed committee.
  • H.R 1671, The Government Neutrality in Contracting Act, was introduced by Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) to prohibit federal agencies and recipients of federal funding from mandating project labor agreements (PLAs). Such agreements provide job training and fair pay for skilled workers, as well as jobs for women, veterans and the unemployed. The measured passed the committee.
  • H.R 4358, the Senior Exec Service Accountability Act, aims to make it easier to discipline and fire senior executives across the federal government by expanding the criteria used to justify such actions. Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), the author of the bill, said during the hearing that this bill would “hold senior execs accountable.” During the hearing, opponents of the bill argued that it could lead to politically motivated suspensions and continue to make it difficult for the federal government to attract the best and brightest. The bill passed committee.
  • H.R 4359, The Administrative Leave Reform Act, called for limiting to 14 the number of days an employee can go on administrative leave. Chaffetz, the author of this bill, said that he felt it was a “common-sense” change to address situations where some employees remain on leave for extended periods as a result of ongoing investigations against them. If passed, the bill could have forced an employee to go for months without getting paid, since agencies complete few if any investigations within 14 days. The bill was withdrawn due to unresolved issues in the bill.

NALC’s Government Affairs team will continue to track these pieces of legislation as well as any others that affect federal employees. Be on the lookout for future activity, and calls to action, on these and other measures.

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