Senator Lankford Federal Workforce Improvement Bills Pass Committee

WASHINGTON, DC – During a markup hearing, the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee today passed three bills sponsored by Senator James Lankford (R-OK) to help federal agencies hire the best workforce and support the federal government reorganization process. Lankford is Chairman of the Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management. 

“These commonsense bills represent an important step towards improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the federal workforce for the 21st century,” said Lankford. “They are not new or controversial ideas; in fact, the National Defense Authorization Act for 2017, which passed the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support, codified these three proposals in law for Department of Defense civilian employees. These bills will improve federal hiring, help fill critical skills gaps, and help the government restructure and reduce costs in the long-term. In addition, by passing these bills, we will take a step towards ensuring that both non-DOD and DOD civilian employees are operating under the same civil service system.”

Lankford Bills Approved by Committee:

1) Direct Hire of Students and Recent Graduates Act of 2017 (S.1887) – Provides direct and quick federal agency hire authority for qualified college graduates, students, or veterans in OPM’s professional or administrative occupational category at the GS-11 level or below. Currently, federal agencies struggle to recruit the next generation of federal employees and compete with the private sector for talent. To compete in the 21st century, agencies need tools to more quickly recruit and retain the best candidates among younger job applicants.

2) Temporary and Term Appointments Act of 2017 (S. 1886) – Gives agencies the flexibility to fill key skills gaps without going through the extensive formal hiring process for time-limited temporary employees (less than a year) and term appointments (between one and five years). Agencies will be able to use this flexibility to quickly fill critical skills gaps for time-limited projects and assignments. In addition, when a critical hiring need exists, the head of an agency may also, under conditions prescribed by the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, make a noncompetitive temporary or term appointment for a period not more than 18 months.

3) Voluntary Separation Incentive Payment Adjustment Act of 2017 (S. 1888) – Provides the federal government with an effective tool to restructure and reduce the size of its workforce by improving early employee retirement and voluntary separation incentives and packages. The Office of Management and Budget is currently leading a government-wide reorganization effort to restructure and improve the efficiency of the federal workforce. With an increased financial incentive to retire early and get off the government’s payroll, this legislation will help restructure the workforce.