House approves fed-friendly Transportation, Treasury spending bill

House approves fed-friendly Transportation, Treasury spending bill

The House reverted to older rules of OMB Circular A-76 competitions and gave a 3.5 percent pay raise to civilian federal employees with Wednesday's passage of the $90 billion fiscal 2005 Transportation, Treasury and independent agencies spending bill.

An amendment sponsored by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) would scrap the recently revised A-76 rules under which federal workers compete against vendors for government jobs that are considered commercial. Agencies would follow the old A-76 rules, which are considered more favorable to federal workers, until OMB rewrites the circular.

The Senate version of the bill also includes such a measure.

Van Hollen said he wants the rules rewritten to treat federal employees more fairly. The White House has threatened to veto a final bill that slows privatization.

President Bush had proposed a 1.5 percent pay increase for civilian employees while those in military service would receive a 3.5 percent hike.

Among other provisions, the House earmarked $285 million for IRS business systems modernization, $103 million less than in 2004. Lawmakers are still concerned about schedule delays and cost overruns of some projects.

OMB would receive $5 million for the e-government fund. Lawmakers suggested that OMB use surplus funds from the General Supply Fund to finance its e-gov initiatives. But the spending bill said lawmakers 'would not relinquish oversight over the development and procurement of information technology projects of the various agencies under its jurisdiction.' And if OMB seeks funding for an initiative under its direction, 'OMB should request those funds under its own appropriation complete with a comprehensive budget justification.'

The spending bill targets $36 million to the National Archives and Records Administration's electronic records project, a slight increase over the current fiscal year. NARA must give lawmakers quarterly progress reports on the e-records project.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.


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