Here We Go Again

After five weeks of recess, both chambers of Congress will return to Washington, D.C., on September 9th. Committee work will restart, speeches will be made on the floor, and representative work for the American people will begin again. For anyone, returning to work can be an arduous undertaking, but for this first session of the 116th Congress it is set to be particularly so. As of the writing of this article, the Senate has yet to pass any appropriations bills to fund the federal government for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) and Congress has a little over three legislative weeks to avoid the second government shutdown of 2019.

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FMA Seeks to Restore Leadership and Resources at the Merit Systems Protection Board

The Senate has a lot of business to tend to when it returns from its State Work Period on September 9. Most notably, it will have barely three weeks before the end of the current fiscal year to pass appropriations to fund the federal government for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) and prevent another government shutdown. Among the other important priorities on the Senate’s plate is finally confirming nominees for the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), the primary appeals board for federal employees.

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FMA Working to Protect DOD’s Probationary Period

In the Fiscal Year 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) (P.L. 114-92), Congress gave the Department of Defense (DOD) authority to institute a two-year probationary period. FMA supported the change. Now there’s an effort currently underway to revert to a one-year probationary period via the FY2020 NDAA, and FMA is helping lead the charge for DOD to maintain its current policy.

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Better Government, Yes – Politicization of the Civil Service, No

As you have no doubt read at FEDManager.com, it has been a busy time at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) in recent months. OPM has been led by Acting Director Margaret Weichert – who also serves as the Deputy Director for Management at the Office of Management and Budget – since October 2018. President Trump nominated Dale Cabaniss as director of OPM in March 2019, and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee favorably reported out her nomination in May. The full Senate has not yet acted on her nomination. FMA and our colleagues within the Government Managers Coalition offered support for her confirmation, noting the agency has only had a Senate-confirmed director for eight months out of the last four years.

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