5 Things You Should Know about the 2014 Omnibus Spending Bill: The House and the Senate this week approved the 2014 catch-all spending bill that provides funding for federal agencies until Sept. 30. The $1.1 trillion bill fleshes out the Murray-Ryan budget deal agreed on last month. Here are five provisions worth noting:
1% Raise for Wage Grade employees. Thanks to AFGE’s persistence, Congress agreed to give more than 200,000 wage-grade employees the same 1% pay raise as General Schedule employees.
No COLA Cuts for disabled military retirees. The bill restores the full cost-of-living adjustments for disability retirements and survivor benefits for military retirees younger than 62 years old. The bill amends the Murray-Ryan budget agreement that called for a one-percentage-point reduction in the annual COLA increase for working-age military retirees starting December 2015.
Bans and limitations on travel and conferences. The bill directs agencies to follow the Office of Management and Budget’s May 2012 memo which required agencies to cut their travel spending by at least 30% from 2010 levels and required them to issue detailed reports for any conference that costs more than $100,000. Less detailed reports are also required for any conference that costs more than $20,000. The bill prohibits agencies from sending more than 50 employees to a conference outside the United States unless those employees are law enforcement personnel. Employees also are prohibited from flying first class.
No dirty chicken rule – for now. Thanks to pressure from AFGE and other consumer groups, Congress removed controversial language encouraging the Food Safety and Inspection Service to implement a proposal that would have sped up the poultry processing lines so that inspectors have only one second to inspect three chickens
Push for more private airport screeners. The bill caps the size of the federal airport screening workforce at 46,000 while providing more funding for private screeners than requested by the administration.
What Would Oscar Wilde Say about the Pentagon’s Perpetual Disregard of Law?: “To lose one law may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose another looks like carelessness,” Section 1108 [of the defense authorization act] had to be enacted into law because an earlier requirement, Section 1111 of the FY10 [national defense authorization act], was mysteriously ignored,” Cox said. “I want to make sure we can avoid such unfortunate appearance.”
· According to the Office of Personnel Management, there were 2.48 million federal civilian employees in 1962. That’s 1.32% of the total population of 186.5 million. In 2011, the number of feds was 2.75 million, or 0.88% of the total population of 310.5 million.
· Since the 1950s and 1960s, the U.S. population increased by 77%. The private sector workforce went up 137%, but the size of the federal workforce rose just 10%.
· In the 1950s and 1960s, there were 92 residents for every federal worker. By 2012, the ratio was 148 to 1.
Office of Management and Budget to urgently issue a rule enforcing a new, lower annual cap on taxpayer subsidies for contractor compensation. Using an outdated and controversial formula, the Office of Management and Budget recently raised an annual cap for taxpayer subsidies for contractor compensation to $952,308. But thanks to AFGE’s hard work, Congress last month included in a budget agreement a provision lowering the cap to $487,000. OMB has six months to issue a final rule to implement the new law. “Most recently, Rep. Moran sponsored the legislation to ensure that federal employees furloughed during the government shutdown would receive back pay for the time they were out of work.