H.Res. 635 – Rule providing for consideration of both H.R. 4182 – Ensuring a Qualified Civil Service Act of 2017 (Rep. Comer – Oversight and Government) and H.R. 1699 – Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act of 2017 (Rep. Barr – Financial Services). The Rules Committee has recommended one Rule which would provide for consideration of two bills.
For H.R. 4182, the Rules Committee has recommended a structured Rule that provides for one hour of general debate equally divided and controlled by the Chair and Ranking Member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The Rule provides for consideration of 4 amendments, each debatable for 10 minutes, equally controlled by the proponent and opponent of the amendment. The Rule allows one motion to recommit, with or without instructions, and waives all points of order against the legislation.
For H.R. 1699, the Rules Committee has recommended a closed Rule that provides for one hour of general debate equally divided and controlled by the Chair and Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services. The Rule allows one motion to recommit, with or without instructions, and waives all points of order against the legislation. Members are urged to VOTE NO.
Complete Consideration of H.R. 3017 – Brownfields Enhancement, Economic Redevelopment, and Reauthorization Act of 2017 (Rep. McKinley – Energy and Commerce) (One Hour of Debate). This bipartisan bill reauthorizes the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Brownfields program at $250 million annually through FY 2022. The Brownfields programs is essential in that it funds the development of abandoned, closed, or under-utilized industrial or commercial facilities that are contaminated. Redeveloped or revitalizing properties that may be contaminated are often more costly and have a greater liability associated with them so they often go undeveloped. Leaving these properties vacant and unused negatively impacts real estate values and slows local economic development.
The Brownfields Program expired in 2006 and it is essential that this program be reauthorized. H.R. 3017 is an important piece of legislation that will help to create jobs and supports our nation’s local economies.
The Rule, which was adopted yesterday, provides for one hour of general debate equally divided and controlled by the Chair and Ranking Member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce.
H.R. 4182 – Ensuring a Qualified Civil Service Act of 2017 (Rep. Comer – Oversight and Government) (One hour of debate). This bill would extend the probationary period for federal employees in the civil service and the Senior Executive Service from one year to two years. This bill would double the amount of time in which federal employees are essentially at-will employees, with virtually no due process protections. Due process protections are vital to the workforce in that they ensure protection against arbitrary agency actions on whistleblowers and prevent politicization and retaliation.
Bill Text for H.R. 3017:
Background for H.R. 3017:
House Report (HTML Version)
House Report (PDF Version)
Under current law, after the one year probationary period, agencies are still able to dismiss underperforming or poorly performing employees after providing the employee a chance to improve, giving thirty days’ notice to the employee while also giving the employee an opportunity to respond and allowing the employee to go through an appeals process.
During Committee mark-up an amendment was offered that would first require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a study of federal agencies that have already lengthened the employee probationary period in certain cases and a study to determine the impact on the agencies’ ability to recruit, promote, retain employees, and handle underperforming employees. Unfortunately, this common sense amendment was not included in the bill reported.
It is essential that Congress provide protections for whistleblowers in federal agencies to ensure that taxpayer resources are not being mishandled or used in a dishonest fashion. This bill will discourage whistleblowers from coming forward in their first two years of service.
The Rule provides for one hour of general debate and makes in order 4 amendments, each debatable for 10 minutes, equally divided between the offeror and an opponent. The amendments are:
Hastings Amendment. Exempts alumni of the PeaceCorps, AmeriCorps, and other national service programs under the Corporation for National and Community Service from the two year probationary period.
Johnson (GA) Amendment. Requires that an individual in a probationary period receive written performance feedback every 180 days during such probationary period that includes notification of whether such individual is making satisfactory or unsatisfactory progress towards meeting any requirements for which notice is required under paragraph (2).
Gianforte Amendment. Provides that any supervisor or manager of an individual who is required to complete the two year probationary period receives additional periodic notifications of the end date of the probationary period.
Connolly Amendment. Strikes the provisions of the bill and replaces it with a study and report by the Comptroller General of the United States. The study and report will be on those agencies that have lengthened the employee probationary period from 1 to 2 years, and any impact of an existing 2 year probationary period at the agency.
Bill Text for H.R. 4182:
Background for H.R. 4182:
House Report Part 1 (HTML Version)
House Report Part 2 (HTML Version)
House Report Part 1 (PDF Version)
House Report Part 2 (PDF Version)
The GOP Leadership has announced the following schedule for Friday, December 1: The House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for legislative business. The House is expected to complete consideration of H.R. 1699 – Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act of 2017 (Rep. Barr – Financial Services).