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:
- One Percent 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. AFGE will continue to work to reverse pension cuts for all military retirees and new federal employees.
- 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. But we expect the reincarnation of the proposal in the White House’s 2015 budget proposal next month.
- 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. This is an effort by some extremist lawmakers who want to return airport security to the pre-9/11 era.
Which agencies saw their budgets increased? Continue reading "2014 Budget by the Numbers."