(WASHINGTON) - Thanks in part to lobbying efforts by the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the House of Representatives recently approved a $463.5 billion FY07 joint funding bill that would reduce by another $5 million the appropriation for the Department of Homeland Security’s MaxHR personnel system. The FY07 joint funding bill became necessary after the Republican-led 109th Congress failed to finish 10 of the 12 FY07 appropriations bills last year.
The House action comes four months after Congress appropriated only $25 million to MaxHR in the FY07 DHS appropriations bill, far less than the $71.5 million requested by the administration.
“AFGE has opposed MaxHR from the start and we support any reduction in funding,” AFGE National President John Gage said. “If nearly two years of lawsuits hasn’t already done so, this sends a message to DHS that it needs to rethink its misguided and unjust personnel system.”
More than 20 federal agencies are under the Department of Homeland Security including Citizenship and Immigration Services, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Federal Protective Services, FEMA, Transportation and Security Administration, and Border Patrol. AFGE represents some 100,000 DHS employees nationwide and in every DHS agency.
AFGE and four other unions had challenged the personnel system on the basis that it was unconstitutional, among other issues. In August 2005, the U.S. District Court issued an injunction forbidding DHS to implement the labor-relations portion of MaxHR. The Circuit Court of Appeals sustained that injunction, and in September, DHS said it would not appeal that decision.
AFGE also has filed a lawsuit regarding the Department of Defense’s National Security Personnel Regulations (NSPS). “AFGE has, and will continue to lobby Congress to cancel funding for NSPS,” Gage said.
“We are pleased with the House decision to cut funding for MaxHR, and thank the representatives who voted to do so,” Gage added. “AFGE is confident that Congress also will see fit to defund NSPS, and looks forward to working with the members of Congress to make that happen.”