Government affairs

Legislative Updates

Senate committee advances official time, TSP bills

The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee held a business meeting to advance a series of bills, including two of particular note to federal employees.

H.R. 1293, a bill that would require that the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to submit an annual report to Congress outlining the use of official time by federal employees, was introduced in March by Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL). Under this bill, each agency would provide OPM an annual report that includes the total amount of official time granted to employees, the average amount of official time expended per bargaining unit employee, the specific types of activities or purposes for which official time was granted, the impact of granting official time had on agency operations, the total number of employees to whom official time was granted, the total amount of benefits and compensation for those granted official time, and a description of designated spaced used for official time activities.

The bill now awaits consideration by the full Senate; if passed, it would be signed into law by President Trump.

The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) Modernization Act of 2017 (S. 873), if enacted into law, would eliminate restrictions on age-based withdrawals, allowing for active federal employees older than 59-1/2 to make multiple age-based withdrawals while still working and for retirees to make multiple, partial post-separation withdrawals. It would also allow participants to stop quarterly or annual payments, permit periodic withdrawals to be changed at any point during the year and save the option to purchase an annuity while recovering monthly benefits.

The bill, which was introduced by Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Tom Carper (D-DE) in April, now awaits consideration by the Senate. A House companion bill was introduced by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), who serves as ranking member on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

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