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Search Tags: Congress
The Senate plans to mark up the 2015 defense appropriations bill on Thursday. That will probably help make it the first appropriations bill to pass the Senate for fiscal 2015. Meanwhile the House will try to pass its seventh appropriations bill. Congress as a whole needs to pass 12 spending bills by September 30th if it wants to avoid another continuing resolution or a full government shutdown. David Hawkings is Senior Editor of Roll Call. He shared Capitol Hill's progress on the bills on In Depth with guest host Jared Serbu.
Over the past decade, Congress has stepped up pressure on the Defense Department to gather data about its civilian workforce, and to use that data to develop a strategic workforce plan. The Pentagon has a plan, but according to the Government Accountability Office, it has some gaps: It leaves out some of the information Congress mandated. DoD's workforce strategy doesn't appear to be tied to either its budget plans or its broader management strategies. Brenda Farrell is director of defense capabilities and management at GAO. She discussed the report on In Depth with guest host Jared Serbu.
In examining the viability of the Senior Executive Service, House members called out the Veterans Affairs' compensation program, with a pledge to introduce another piece of legislation to take back bonuses. The Senior Executives Association relayed concerns that talent is fleeing senior executive positions.
The size of DoD's civilian acquisition workforce has grown by some 20,000 employees over the past five years and now numbers about 135,000 personnel members, according to Stephanie Barna, acting assistant secretary of Defense for Readiness and Force Management. That's thanks to an effort by DoD begun in 2009 to recapitalize its acquisition workforce. But the department's focus on the acquisition workforce has been strained by a slew of competing priorities and congressionally-mandated belt-tightening, Barna said.
The mid-term elections are upon us, and some people are complaining about political fatigue and gridlock. But for federal and postal workers - and retirees - these may be the good old days, Senior Correspondent Mike Causey says.
For the Department of Homeland Security, making its 22 components' radio systems interoperable with one another has been an objective since the department was created in 2003. But today, DHS still can't account for all of its communications assets -- let alone get them to talk to each other. Last night, the House passed legislation designed to get things moving. Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ) is the ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness and the prime sponsor of the DHS Interoperable Communications Act. He explained the details of the bill on In Depth with Francis Rose.
Legislation passed by the House creates a social media working group for the Department of Homeland Security, and adds in requirements and accountability processes to improve interoperability across the agency.
Congress helps set the stage for a one percent pay raise for federal employees next year, despite recent historical trends. The House and Senate versions of a government spending bill don't guarantee a salary bump, but they don't stop the president from declaring one, either. And the House already approved a 1.8 percent pay raise for military service members in 2015. Katie Maddocks is the government affairs representative for the Federal Managers Association. She explained the chances of seeing a pay raise next year on In Depth with Francis Rose.
Congress needs to pass twelve annual spending bills -- which set agency funding levels -- before the end of the fiscal year on September 30th. The House passed five of those bills so far. The Senate hasn't passed any. The appropriations process was supposed to be easier this year compared to last year. That's because lawmakers have already agreed on a bipartisan budget deal that sets topline spending figures for the next two years. Philip Joyce is a professor of public policy at the University of Maryland. In an interview with Web Writer Jack Moore, he said agencies should still plan for a continuing resolution.
The appropriations process was supposed to be easier this year compared to last, because lawmakers had signed off on a bipartisan deal that set top-line spending levels for the next two years. But action in both the House and the Senate appears to have largely stalled.