With every new Congress comes a shift in legislative priorities. Fresh members come into D.C. ready to take on a new set of issues and make their mark on the legislative branch. The 115th Congress is no different – and they have made one of their priorities refining certain aspects of the federal government.
This new wave of legislation can have significant impact on federal employees. As a result, for this this week’s DorobekINSIDER, we wanted to bring you five of the most recent pieces of legislation that federal employees should keep an eye on:
S 696: Stop Improper Federal Bonuses Act
Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE) and co-sponsors Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Dean Heller (R-NV) recently introduced this bill into the Senate. The language of the bill prohibits paying bonuses to federal employees who break their agency’s code of conduct. Additionally, the bill would require employees who engage in egregious misconduct to repay bonuses for any year in which an adverse finding is made. The bill’s authors explained that its primary goal is to protect taxpayer dollars from waste in government. It currently sits in the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, awaiting further action.
HR 559: Modern Employee Reform Improvement and Transformation Act (MERIT Act)
Introduced in the beginning of 2017 by Barry Loudermilk (R-GA), the MERIT Act proposes that heads of agencies can remove employee from a civil service position if the head determines that the removal is warranted by the individual’s behavior. In order for the employee to be dismissed they must be given written notice at least three weeks in advance of termination. Additionally, the employees would have a chance to appeal the decision to the Merit Systems Protection Board, which can uphold or reverse the decision. The bill was most recently referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
HR 6278: Promote Accountability and Government Efficiency Act (PAGE Act)
Proposed by Indiana Republican Todd Rokita, the bill requires civil servants to be hired on an at-will basis beginning one year after it is enacted. This means that any employee that fits this profile can be removed or suspended from service for good cause, bad cause, or no cause at all without notice or right to appeal. The bill also proposes that employees who do not receive a score of four or above on their latest performance review will be prohibited from receiving a pay raise. While this version of the bill was introduced in the 114th Congress and is currently referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government reform, Congressman Rokita said he plans to offer up substantially the same measure in the current Congress.
HR 899: To Terminate the Department of Education
Congressman Kyle Massie (R-KY) introduced this bill that simply aims to terminate the Department of Education by December 31, 2018. It is similar to HR 861, introduced by Florida Republican Matt Gaetz, which aims to terminate the Environmental Protection Agency by the same date. The former bill is currently referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, while the latter is in the Subcommittee on Environment.
S 272: Strengthening American Transportation Security Act of 2017
This Senate bill was introduced by Brian Schatz (D-HI) and aims to restore workplace protections to TSA employees under Title 5 of the U.S. Code. Essentially, the bill repeals personnel authorities of the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Transportation and subjects TSA employees to the personnel management system that all other federal employees are under. After its introduction, the bill was referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.
As these bills go through the legislative process you can track them, and all federal bills here. Additionally, if you have an eye on a bill that we didn’t include, feel free to share in the comments.