Increasing Level of Congressional Support for HHS Bargaining

We appreciate the support of these Representatives, as well as their recognition of the value and benefits that collective bargaining yields for federal employees and their families.

Representative Jamie Raskin (D-MD)
Representative Jamie Raskin (D-MD)

Representative Raskin (D-MD) has sent a letter to Secretary Azar at HHS urging the agency to return to the table with NTEU, as required by law. The letter to HHS was also signed by Maryland Representatives Anthony Brown, John Sarbanes, and John Delaney, as well as Congressmen Don Beyer Jr. and Gerald Connolly of Virginia. Many HHS and FDA employees are represented by these legislators. The letter states, “The mission of HHS is to enhance and protect the health and well-being of all Americans. HHS employees safeguard our medicines, provide invaluable health care assistance to families and children, and help people fight the horrors of addiction. These workers perform some of the most important work our government does to serve its people.”

Education Department’s Handling of Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program Gets a Bad Grade

GAO’s report on the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program finds the Education Department guidance and instructions “piecemeal” and confusing.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF)
Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) logo

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program, established by law in 2007 and administered by the Department of Education, is intended to encourage individuals to enter and continue careers in public service by forgiving borrowers’ remaining federal student loan balances after they have made at least ten years of loan payments while working in public service and meeting other requirements. Only loans provided through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) program qualify for forgiveness. To date, there are over 890,000 individuals enrolled in the program. The first borrowers became eligible in September 2017. Out of the 19,000 applications submitted for loan forgiveness, just 55 had been approved at the time of this new General Accountability Office (GAO) study. Continue reading “Education Department’s Handling of Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program Gets a Bad Grade”

Update on Government Funding for FY19

Government funding for Fiscal Year 2019 remains in flux for several agencies, the resolution of which may hinge on the midterm elections.

The CapitolLast month, the President signed H.R. 6157, a bill providing Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 funding for several agencies covered by the Department of Defense and Labor-Health and Human Services appropriations bills as well as a Continuing Resolution (CR) for other agencies that have otherwise not received FY19 appropriations, thereby preventing a partial government shutdown until December 7, 2018. Agencies funded by the Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, Legislative Branch, and Energy and Water appropriations bill received their full-year funding under previously enacted legislation. Continue reading “Update on Government Funding for FY19”