The House today is expected to override the president's veto of a bill that would grant more freedom to the nearly 3 million federal and postal workers to take part in partisan politics. Backers of the Hatch Act modification hope it will be sent to the Senate today or tomorrow.
To become law without President Bush's signature, the bill must get a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate. The president has yet to lose a veto fight. Last year, the House voted 297 to 90 in favor of the Hatch Act changes. In May, the Senate approved a more conservative plan, 67 to 30.
The president refused to sign the Senate-House compromise that would be the first modification of the "no politics" law that has covered civil servants for 51 years. He said the proposed changes would open the door to politicization of the career federal service. Hatch Act changes are opposed by Common Cause, the Federal Bar Association and the Chamber of Commerce.
Backers of the Hatch Act changes, including unions representing most postal and federal workers, say the new bill would simply extend some basic political rights to off-duty federal workers. They would be allowed to take part in some partisan campaign activities. Union members could collect political contributions from other union members.
White House aides say the Senate is the real battleground. It passed the Hatch Act overhaul by the minimum two-thirds majority. All 54 Democrats and 13 Republicans supported it. Since then a new Democrat, Daniel K. Akaka (Hawaii), has taken office. He will vote to override the veto. The White House is urging the 13 Republicans to reverse themselves and vote to sustain the veto.AMC Furloughs?
The Army Materiel Command is reviewing plans that could lead to a 21-day furlough, starting in October, for many of its nearly 100,000 civilian employees. It is one of the defense agencies that is millions of dollars short in its salary account fund.
Earlier, AMC had warned of possible reductions in force of up to 5,500 workers that could come as early as August. Furloughs, if approved, could prevent some layoffs. Congress could prevent both if it comes up with more money.
AMC has asked the Office of Personnel Management for permission to offer employees early retirement if they are age 50 with at least 20 years' service or at any age after 25 years' service. Officials expect the office to okay the early-outs soon. If enough people take them, that could ease much of the furlough/RIF pressure.
AMC has several thousand civilian workers in the metro Washington area, mostly in Alexandria. Army, Navy, Air Force and other Defense units have 91,000 civilian workers here.Job Mart
The Walter Reed Army Medical Center is looking for a Grade 11 interior designer. Call 576-1878.
U.S. Claims Court has a GS 9 through 11 opening for an administrative secretary to a federal judge. Call Nancy Mancini at 633-7282.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency wants a GS 12 position classification specialist. Call Dorothy McCann at 646-3996.