NFFE-Backed Effort to Reverse TDY Cuts for DoD Employees Moves Forward in Congress

Late last night, an amendment offered by Rep. Mark Takai (D-HI) was approved and added to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that will restore per diem rates for Department of Defense (DoD) employees on long-term temporary duty (TDY) that were recklessly slashed by DoD on November 1, 2014. This amendment comes following NFFE’s participation in a roundtable discussion on Capitol Hill on the policy change and working closely with a bipartisan group of lawmakers to have similar legislation introduced. While getting this amendment added to the House of Representatives’ NDAA is a big step forward, the fight to restore per diem rates is not over. NFFE, IAM, and our allies will now turn our sights to the Senate to get a similar provision inserted into Senate NDAA.
In December, NFFE National President William R. Dougan participated in a roundtable discussion on Capitol Hill arranged by Representative Derek Kilmer (D-WA) that brought together members of Congress, DoD, Defense workers Union representatives and industry stakeholders to discuss recent DoD policy changes that shift $38 million per year in travel-related costs to the civilian workforce. The policies in question cut lodging and per diem reimbursements to DoD workers on long-term temporary duty (TDY). Following that meeting, NFFE, IAM, and our allies set out to chart a path to getting a portion of the cuts repealed for our DoD members.
Then, in March, Congressman Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Congressman Walter Jones (R-NC) introduced legislation, H.R. 1193, aimed at repealing the policy enacted November 1, 2014 that shifted an estimated $22.5 million per year in travel-related costs to the Department’s workforce. The introduction of H.R. 1193 follows an October of 2014 letter to DoD sent by a bipartisan coalition of 26 lawmakers calling for the Department to cease implementation of these disastrous cuts. The amendment inserted to the House NDAA last night by Rep. Takai reflected the goals of H.R. 1193.
“We are thankful to Representatives Takai, Kilmer, Jones and the long list of bipartisan supporters of this effort who recognize that DoD employees have endured enough,” said NFFE National President William R. Dougan. “Saddling Defense workers with an additional $22.5 million in cuts following years of pay freezes, pension cuts and unpaid furloughs is a slap in the face. The Takai amendment accepted into the NDAA is a huge step forward to repeal these senseless cuts. We now turn our sights to the Senate where the fight continues. NFFE will continue to fight for the 50,000 DoD employees we represent.”

Rep. Takai (D-HI), right, introduced the amendment to reverse TDY cuts late last night