Schedule F ban among workforce provisions in annual defense policy bill

Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., introduced the language that would prevent the creation of new schedules such as the proposed Schedule F.

Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., introduced the language that would prevent the creation of new schedules such as the proposed Schedule F. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The House just last week passed the bill—which also contains provisions granting full civil service protections plus a pay raise to TSA employees.

The House on Thursday voted 329-101 to pass the fiscal 2023 National Defense Authorization Act, which calls for nearly $1 trillion in defense spending and makes a number of big changes to federal personnel policies across government.

The NDAA’s status as an annual must-pass bill means that it often serves as a vehicle for provisions that affect all of the federal government. The federal government’s current policy to provide federal workers with up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave each year was enacted as part of the fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act.

Prior to consideration of this year's bill on the House floor this week, the House Armed Services Committee had already added language codifying President Biden’s executive order establishing a $15 per hour minimum wage for federal contractors, instructing federal agencies to provide at least $1,000 in recruitment and retention bonuses for federal wildland firefighters, and protecting inspectors general from political retaliation.

Over the course of two days of debate and consideration of more than 600 amendments, the list of workforce policy changes in the legislation continued to grow. Atop the heap were two amendments inserting the text of bills that have been important for House Democratic lawmakers but thus far have seen no action in the Senate.

First was legislation from Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., that would apply Title 5 of the U.S. Code to the Transportation Security Administration workforce, bringing them onto the General Schedule pay scale and granting them access to the rest of the federal government’s whistleblower and due process protections, as well as full federal sector collective bargaining rights. If enacted, that means TSA screeners would see an average pay increase of 30%, while air marshals would see a 21% raise.

Another Democratic priority that made it into the final House version of the bill is Rep. Gerry Connolly’s Preventing a Patronage System Act. That legislation is aimed at preventing future administrations from unilaterally reviving efforts to reclassify federal jobs outside of the federal government’s competitive service, like the Trump administration’s unsuccessful effort to create a new Schedule F for employees in policy-related positions, which threatened to strip thousands of federal workers of their civil service protections.

The bill prevents any president from unilaterally creating a new schedule within the excepted service, effectively forcing the executive branch to request that Congress make any additions via legislation.

Lawmakers also added to the Defense policy bill before its passage the text of the Federal Firefighters Fairness Act, another bill already passed by the House that would reform the federal government’s workers compensation program by creating a presumption that if federal firefighters develop one of a number of serious health conditions, they contracted those diseases due to on-the-job exposure. This would make it much easier for them to apply for and qualify for disability benefits.

And Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., successfully amended the legislation to require the Office of Personnel Management to create a supplement to the annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey to solicit questions about federal workers’ experiences with harassment and discrimination in the workplace.

Federal employee groups were quick to support many of the amendments’ inclusion in the House’s final version of the bill.

“This bill contains many of our legislative priorities, including more competitive pay and job protections for the hard-working civil servants who keep our federal government running,” said Everett Kelley, national president of the American Federation of Government Employees. “We applaud the House for passing this legislation in a bipartisan fashion, and we look forward to working with the Senate and the conference committee to further improve this legislation.”

Ken Thomas, national president of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, sent a letter to lawmakers urging support for Connolly’s anti-Schedule F amendment.

“Given the attempt in late 2020 to create a broad new excepted service category with rules more akin to those covering political appointments, and recent legislative efforts to revive that idea, it is critical to pass this amendment now,” he wrote. “It would provide a real, bipartisan check preventing our nation from returning to the spoils system of the late 1800s and ensuring we remain a nation governed by laws.”

One amendment that has caused some discord between House Democrats and the White House, introduced by Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., would allow the Defense secretary to grant a 2.4% salary increase through “inflation bonus pay” in 2023 for servicemembers and civilian Defense Department employees, in addition to their normal annual pay raise. The normal pay raise is currently slated to be an average 4.6% increase unless Congress overrides President Biden before the end of this year.

Although this provision was approved by voice vote with dozens of other amendments, the White House has warned it is opposed to the extra pay.

“The administration strongly opposes the limited inflation bonus that would apply only to Department of Defense civilian employees for calendar year 2023,” the administration wrote on Tuesday. “This provision would create significant pay inequities among federal civilian employees and creates other problems, including for the calendar year 2024 pay adjustment, as currently drafted. The administration urges the Congress to support the robust governmentwide civilian pay increase of 4.6% included in the fiscal 2023 budget request.”

The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

This article was published first on GovExec, a FederalSoup partner site ("A Schedule F Ban Is Among Many Workforce Provisions in the Annual Defense Policy Bill the House Just Passed.") 

NEXT STORY: House Defense Policy Bill could codify contractor minimum wage

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.