Weekend Update

The Hosue has adjourned for the holidays, and the Senate has one more day of sessions to handle nominations.  Before leaving town, Congress passed several bills blurbed in this Week in Congress, most significantly the CRomnibus bill and the National Defense Authorization Act. As the FEHBlog has noted, the CRomnibus keeps most of the federal government funded through the end of the current fiscal year. Hopefully, both the Senate and House next year will address appropriations in regular order rather than using an omnibus.

The Federal Times calls to our attention the fact that the NDAA includes a few provisions affecting federal employees, most significantly, a “section [that] allows retired employees to return to the federal workforce without taking a cut to their salaries.” Congress extended this pilot program for another five year period. “Before the authority [first] was granted in 2009 an agency rehiring a retiree
had to offset their salary by the amount of the annuity unless it got a
waiver from the Office of Personnel Management.”

Last Friday, the FEHBlog noted that the Republican Senate Conference last week voted to require all of their staff to be covered under the DC Health Link rather than the FEHBA. Newsmax points out that the Republican House Conference rejected a similar motion. The Washington Post reported last winter that 88% or over 12,000 of the enrollees in the DC Health Link’s small business option are members of Congress and their official staff members. The Democrat Conferenes in Congress like the House Republicans permit legislators to designate their staff members who have to leave the FEHBA for the DC Health Link.