Key Federal Workforce Initiatives Suffer Setback in Congress


Last week, an effort to advance several key federal workforce initiatives in Congress suffered a major setback after the amendment was withdrawn from consideration in the Senate’s version of the Fiscal Year 2010 Defense Authorization bill.

The amendment, introduced by Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI) was unexpectedly filibustered by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), and was ultimately withdrawn from consideration last Thursday. The Akaka amendment contained provisions that would give Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) employees credit for unused sick leave, allow federal workers returning to federal service to redeposit contributions to the retirement trust fund, and extend locality pay to federal workers in Alaska, Hawaii and the territories.

This is not the first time such initiatives have been brushed aside in Congress. Just a few short months ago, similar language was removed from the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act before its eventual passage. Though this represents a setback, there is still hope for getting these crucial initiatives passed.

The House’s version of the Defense Authorization bill, which passed in late June, still includes the aforementioned federal workforce provisions. NFFE is pushing hard to ensure that these provisions survive conference and get signed into law once a final bill is passed.

“We still need all our members weighing in with their elected officials on this legislation,” said NFFE Legislative Director Randy Erwin. “We will have one more chance at this when the Defense Authorization bill goes to conference. We need to show a lot of grassroots support for the provisions we have been fighting for.”