December 20, 2019
“There is no such thing as a good government shutdown, so it is a great relief for Maryland, federal workers and the entire nation that Congress has now passed full-year spending bills for Fiscal Year 2020.”
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) lauded key provisions in the final FY 2020 appropriations package that improve compensation and working conditions for federal employees and enable critical maintenance projects at federal facilities in Maryland.
“There are more than 2 million federal employees across the United States who devote their lives to serving the public, whether by caring for our veterans, teaching our children, or searching for cures to diseases,” said Senator Ben Cardin. “These women and men ought to be thanked and rewarded for their contributions to our country, not undermined and scapegoated like they have been at the hands of the Trump Administration. That’s why it was one of my top priorities this year to ensure that federal employees and agencies get the support they deserve.”
Budget decisions for FY 2020 included a number of successes for the federal workforce. Congress eliminated the threat of a federal government shutdown by passing crucial spending packages and granted 12 weeks of Paid Family Leave for federal employees in the National Defense Authorization Act. Additionally, the FY 2020 appropriations package embraces the following of Senator Cardin’s objectives for federal employees:
- 3.1 PERCENT PAY INCREASE: President Trump attempted to freeze federal salaries for the upcoming year, but was pressured to include a 2.6 percent pay increase in his budget request. Unfortunately, that fell short of the 3.1 percent pay increase on tap for the military. Senator Cardin has been a long-time advocate for civilian-military parity and successfully worked with his colleagues to increase civilian pay and achieve equity at 3.1 percent for all.
- RESTORING TELEWORK AT SOCIAL SECURITY: Senator Cardin led a letter to Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul highlighting the proven benefits of telework for productivity and workforce morale, and challenging the unilateral decision to end telework for 12,000 employees at SSA. Following this letter, the appropriations package includes a provision which directs the SSA to develop a plan to reinstate telework for employees.
This year, Senator Cardin also fought for necessary increases in funding for several Maryland-based federal agencies to maintain and improve their facilities in order to achieve their missions. The following of his funding requests for federal facilities were fulfilled in FY 2020 appropriations:
- NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF HEALTH: After a recent study found that a majority of the facilities on our nation’s preeminent medical research campus are in poor condition, Senator Cardin led a letter from the Maryland Congressional Delegation to Senate and House Appropriators in support of increasing funding to meet the $1.3 billion in NIH facilities needs. The appropriations package provides $225 million for this purpose, which constitutes a $25 million increase from last year and requires the NIH to institute a plan to address future building and facilities issues.
- NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY: Senator Cardin sought additional funding for NIST’s Construction of Research Facilities account. The appropriations package provides $118 million for this purpose, which is a $12 million increase above FY 2019 levels, and can be utilized for the repair and maintenance of NIST’s aging buildings.
- FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION: Working with Montgomery County leadership, Senator Cardin urged the Appropriations Committee to continue efforts to help the FDA consolidate its White Oak, Maryland campus. The appropriations package provides $53.913 million for the FDA, which represents a $10.869 million increase in funding from last year.
- COAST GUARD YARD: Senator Cardin expressed his support for an increase to $77.9 million to ensure the Baltimore-based Coast Guard Yard employees were able to repair and rehabilitate aging Coast Guard vessels through the Coast Guard’s In-Service Vessel Sustainment program. The appropriations package allocates $91.4 million for these projects, a $28.150 million increase above previous funding levels and $13.5 million more than the President’s request.
- DHS/FBI: Senator Cardin has been at the forefront of ensuring ongoing funding and support for DHS/FBI’s National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC), a unique lab that supports federal law enforcement investigations and identifies biological threats. The appropriations package provides at least $67.916 million for the Fort Detrick, Maryland-based NBACC.
- DEFENSE HEALTH FACILITIES: The appropriations package includes $36 million for Phase III of a Medical Center Addition at Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, and $27 million for the Medical Research Acquisition Building at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Maryland.
- AIR FORCE: Senator Cardin called for $86 million for the Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization Complex at Joint Base Andrews, which is reflected in the appropriations package. The package also includes language supported by Senator Cardin that directs the Air Force to develop a plan to ensure that the Air National Guard maintains its flying missions.
“I am very proud of the wins we secured this year for federal workers and agencies, but there is still much work to be done,” Said Senator Cardin. “Among other things, we must empower federal civilian employee unions to negotiate for better conditions and we must restore promised funding for military family support facilities, like the Child Development Center at Joint Base Andrews. I look forward to continuing the fight for America’s public servants in 2020.”
Go to Source