House Approves Defense Authorization Bill Repealing NSPS; Senate Nearing a Vote
Today, in a news release issued by the Senate Armed Services Committee, Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) and Ranking Member John McCain (R-AZ) announced the contents of the Fiscal Year 2010 National Defense Authorization Act conference report, which contained a series of crucial federal employee initiatives. The highlight of the report, and undoubtedly the greatest development for federal workers, is the provision repealing the National Security Personnel System (NSPS):
“The conference report repeals the authority for the National Security Personnel System (NSPS) and requires the transition of NSPS employees to previously existing civilian personnel systems, while providing DOD with new personnel flexibilities – in the areas of hiring and assigning personnel and appraising employee performance – that would extend across the entire DOD civilian workforce,” said the Committee’s news release. “The Secretary of Defense would be afforded an opportunity to propose additional personnel flexibilities, if he determines that such flexibilities would be in the best interest of DOD.”
According to the report, the over 200,000 employees enrolled under the flawed system must be moved back to existing pay systems by January 2012. Furthermore, any proposed revival of the system must be offered by the Secretary of Defense and approved by Congress, which assuredly would be a tall order.
“NSPS has been on the wrong track since its inception, and I am glad to see the conference committee take a strong stand against this failed system,” said NFFE National President William R. Dougan. “The committee could have punted on this issue, and that would have kept everyone working in the department in limbo for another year. The committee took bold action, and I believe it was the right thing to do.”
The conference report, if passed bThursday, the House of Representatives passed the conference report on the FY 2010 Defense Authorization Act, which includes provisions to repeal the National Security Personnel System (NSPS) and convert the over 200,000 employees enrolled under the program back into existing pay systems.
The legislation also contains provisions giving retiring employees enrolled in the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) credit for their unused sick leave and extends locality pay to workers stationed outside of the mainland United States.
Yesterday, NFFE National President William R. Dougan penned letters to both the House and Senate calling for swift passage of the bill.
“Our union believes that these provisions and the repealing of NSPS are central to improving the lives of countless federal employees and to enhancing the performance of DoD,” wrote Dougan, urging Senate lawmakers to pass the key legislation. “As such, we fully endorse the conference report and urge you to do the same when the report comes to the Senate floor.”
The bill, arguably the most important for federal employees in years, will now be subject to approval by the Senate. Sources on Capitol Hill suggest that the Senate will consider the legislation sometime early next week. While Senate passage is likely, there is a possibility of provisions unrelated to the federal workforce sinking the bill in the Senate.
“We are very close to passing the most important piece of legislation for federal workers in the last decade,” said NFFE Legislative Director Randy Erwin. “NFFE members should be calling their Senators and asking them to support the Defense Authorization conference report.”
You can call your Senators by dialing the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.y both houses of Congress, will make a series of important changes for federal employees and, more specifically, their retirement benefits. Federal employees enrolled under the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) will be given credit for their unused sick leave upon retirement, just as their counterparts in the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) do. Additionally, federal workers stationed in areas outside of the mainland U.S. will now receive locality pay adjustments every year in lieu of cost of living adjustments, a change that will boost retirement annuities.
“I’d like to thank my predecessor, Richard N. Brown, our General Counsel Susan Grundmann, Randy Erwin, our Legislative Director, and of course, the NFFE membership for all of their hard work in making this day come to fruition,” said Dougan. “This has been a great day for the federal workforce.”