Government affairs

Legislative Updates

Defense Authorization bill passes House with official time amendment

Today, in a 351-66 vote, the House of Representatives passed the fiscal year (FY) 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which included an amendment submitted by Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) requiring the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to submit a detailed report to Congress on the use of official time by federal employees. The language of the amendment mirrors the language of his bill H.R. 1293, introduced back in March 2017.

While the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 prohibits the use of official time for union-specific business such as electing officers, soliciting members, internal meetings, and political activities, the White House and many Congressional Republicans suggest it is being used improperly and continue to introduce proposals to limit if not prohibit its use by federal employees. While this bill only requests a report of its use, it could lead to depriving federal union representatives from their pension credit during time spent representing employees during labor-management relations.

The Senate Armed Services Committee completed its markup of its FY19 NDAA the same day, without language on official time, which the full Senate will take up in the coming weeks.

NALC opposes any efforts to undermine the use of official time by federal employees and will continue to monitor progression of the issue in light of recent Hill activity and the recent executive orders on the subject.

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