|The House passed a seven bill FY 2022 appropriations package which includes funding for many NTEU-represented agencies.|
SUMMARY: The House passed a seven bill FY 2022 appropriations package which includes funding for many NTEU-represented agencies.
Today the House passed an appropriations package that included seven of the 12
As you know, the President has proposed a 2.7 percent pay increase for federal employees for 2022 and the same amount for the military. However, the President has not announced how much of the increase would be allocated for locality pay but said that decision would be included in the President’s Alternative Pay Memo that is due before September 1. According to the Federal Employee Pay Comparability Act, federal employees should receive a 2.2 percent pay increase in 2022 before locality pay is added. The bill passed today, which would normally include language on federal employee pay, is silent on the amount of the pay increase, thus deferring to the President’s proposal of 2.7 percent. While NTEU has always supported the concept of pay parity with the military, we will continue to push Congress and the administration to support the FAIR Act (H.R. 392/ S. 561) and provide an average 3.2 percent increase for next year, consisting of an across-the-board increase of 2.2 percent and 1.0 percent for locality pay.
The legislation would continue the ban on funding new outsourcing activities under Office of Management and Budget Circular A-76 and includes strong provisions to protect federal employee collective bargaining rights. Specifically, the bill would ban the use of funds to prevent employees from using official time for union activities, teleworking for telework-
With regard to specific agency funding, the bill would provide the IRS with $13.5 billion for FY 2022, which is consistent with the Biden Administration’s request, including $13.1 billion in base funding and an additional $417 million for enforcement via a program integrity cap adjustment. This funding would support a total of 81,902 FTEs, an increase of 8,493 over the FY 2021 Operating Plan. According to the bill, a total of $5.4 billion would be provided to support base IRS enforcement activities, an increase of $250 million above the current enacted level. Combined with the $417 million program integrity cap adjustment, this funding contemplates the addition of more than 2,500 FTEs would which allow the IRS to maximize taxpayer compliance, prevent tax evasion and reduce the deficit.
The legislation would also provide a total of $2.9 billion for taxpayer services, an increase of $385 million from the FY 2021 enacted level, which would support an additional 4,258 FTEs allowing the IRS to increase the phone level of service to 75 percent, increase staffing and expand hours in Taxpayer Service Centers (TACs), and reduce the correspondence backlog. In addition, the bill continues to include language that would prohibit the IRS from paying bonuses or awards without taking into consideration an employee’s conduct and tax compliance. NTEU strongly supports the funding increase in this bill that would be another positive step in reversing the adverse impact of funding reductions in recent years which has strained the IRS’s capacity to carry out its important taxpayer services and enforcement missions.
The bill includes increased funding for the National Park Service (NPS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The bill also acknowledges the BLM’s loss of staff and institutional knowledge under the previous administration, requiring the Bureau to provide monthly briefings to the committee on its progress in rebuilding staff capacity including its staffing plans, location of employees and the location of the headquarters, number of staff they have onboarded, and hiring timeline.
The bill would also provide a modest increase for HHS, including the important work FDA is doing during the current pandemic. At all agencies funded in this bill, the level of appropriation would be adequate for their needs. However, NTEU has raised the issue with House appropriators that agencies must use this funding in a way that is efficient and effective at retaining skilled employees in a tightening labor market. In particular, we raised the issue of student loan repayment for employees at SEC, SSA and other agencies.
Amendments filed by Representative Kevin Hern (R-OK) would have cut agency funding across-the-board by 20 percent, but those amendments were defeated, en bloc, by a vote of 154-264.
This legislation would provide funding for all NTEU-represented agencies subject to appropriations except for DHS, PTO and DOD. Please be assured as Congress continues consideration of FY 2022 funding legislation, NTEU will continue to fight for a fair pay raise and adequate funding for all federal agencies. I will update you on further developments.
Anthony M. Reardon