Lifting The Middle Class

Categories: Budget

The White House on Monday released a 2016 budget proposal that lays out the president’s strategy to lift up the middle class. It also spells out plans for agencies and the federal workforce. Here are 12 things you need to know about the budget:

  1. The administration proposed a pay raise of 1.3% in 2016 for federal employees. AFGE, however, supports legislation pending in Congress that would give the workforce a well-deserved 3.8% raise.
  2. The budget called for an end to sequestration cuts, which took effect in March 2013 and cost 750,000 jobs.
  3. About 34,000 more employees would be hired in 2016, mostly at the VA and IRS, reversing a trend in which the federal workforce has been shrinking compared to the population it serves.
  4. However, the Defense Department would cut 2,900 civilians and would request a new round of base realignment and closure.
  5. The administration supports legislation that would provide federal employees with six weeks of paid parental leave. The White House last month directed agencies to advance 30 days of paid sick leave for feds who are new parents.
  6. While the administration continues to argue for a new personnel system – a supposedly “pay for performance” system, it admitted that it directed agencies to limit individual performance awards for almost all employees since 2011 due to budgetary constraints.  
  7. The budget called for a consolidation of the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the food safety components of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to create a new agency within the Health and Human Services (HHS).
  8. It also called for a consolidation of six business and trade agencies and related programs – Commerce’s core business and trade functions, SBA, U.S. Trade Representative, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.
  9. Under the budget, the Department of Homeland Security’s Emergency Food and Shelter Program would be transferred to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
  10. The administration continues to encourage the use of shared service providers among agencies. HUD, for example, has transferred its financial management and HR functions to the Treasury Department.
  11. The budget promotes initiatives to strengthen employee engagement – employee attitudes towards agency leadership, supervisors, workplace experience, training, promotion – to allow “agency leaders to tailor strategic plans that specifically address employee needs.”
  12. It encourages flexible workforce programs such as GovConnect, which allows agencies to borrow personnel from other agencies for special projects.

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