|With government funding set to expire on December 11, Congress is continuing to work on an end of the year spending agreement, which may include some coronavirus relief measures.|
With little more than a week until the current Continuing Resolution (CR) expires on Friday, December 11, Congress continues to work to negotiate a final FY 2021 spending agreement. Last week, House and Senate negotiators announced that they had reached an agreement on the top line subcommittee allocations, but policy disagreements remain. Absent an omnibus spending bill or another CR, a shutdown would occur.
As you know, the Senate Appropriations Committee released its FY 2021 bills a few weeks ago to be used in negotiations with the House, which passed 10 of its 12 bills in July. Overall, the Senate bills provide less funding for NTEU-represented agencies than the House bills and include a pay freeze for federal employees next year. The House bill was silent on the issue of a pay raise, deferring to the President’s proposed a 1.0 percent pay increase, which is significantly less than the 2.5 percent federal employees should receive under the Federal Employee Pay Comparability Act before locality pay is added. However, the Trump Administration has now announced support for the Senate pay freeze proposal. This is particularly insulting considering many federal workers will face smaller paychecks starting in January when additional payroll taxes are withheld to repay the taxes deferred in 2020 without their consent and that many will face higher FEHBP premiums next year. Federal employees have been on the job throughout the pandemic, sometimes at great personal risk to themselves and their families, because their jobs are essential to delivering important services to the American public. NTEU will continue to fight to ensure that federal employees receive a pay increase for 2021.
At the same time, Congress and the White House are once again engaged in talks about another coronavirus relief bill. A bipartisan group of senators and representatives announced a new proposal this week, which costs less than the Heroes Act passed by the House in May, but more than the proposal Senate Republicans released a few months ago. It is unclear if a large package will be agreed to before the end of the year or if a few expiring provisions will be added to the FY 2021 funding bill.
As Congress negotiates a final spending package, NTEU will continue to fight for federal employees and ensure that agencies are adequately funded. For more information, click here.