By Nicole Glass Photography / Shutterstock.com

Senate Will Soon Consider Extra Paid Leave and Ethics Crackdown for Feds

Final legislative details affecting feds for two sweeping packages winding their way to the Senate.

House Democrats have moved sweeping pieces of legislation in recent days that will have significant impacts on the federal workforce, including by boosting paid leave and placing tighter restrictions on employees’ pre- and post-government work. 

The House early on Saturday morning passed its latest COVID-19 relief bill, The 2021 American Rescue Plan Act (H.R. 1319), which includes $1.9 trillion for direct payments to Americans, aid to state and local governments and funding for schools and vaccine distribution. It would also provide 15 weeks of paid leave for federal employees who are unable to work due to COVID-19 symptoms or self-isolation orders and those who need to care for a child whose school or daycare center is closed or relying on virtual learning. Federal and postal workers caring for someone who contracted the coronavirus or with a family member at least 65 years old who is impacted by the pandemic would also be eligible for the time off. 

The measure passed without any Republican support and now heads to the Senate, where Democrats are expected to use a process known as “reconciliation” to overcome Republican objections. The legislative text will require some tweaking, as, for example, Democrats will have to remove or alter a provision raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour due to the limits of the parliamentary procedure they are using. The fate of the leave for federal employees—which came with a $570 million price tag in the House bill—could also hang in the balance, though it may not become clear until later this week when Senate leadership is expected to release its version of the relief package. Provisions in a reconciliation bill must have sufficient budgetary impact to be included, as determined by the Senate parliamentarian.

House Democrats also began consideration of their 2021 For the People Act (H.R. 1) on Monday, with final passage of the elections and campaign finance reform legislation expected later this week. The package includes significant changes to ethics restrictions on federal employees, with the aim of cracking down on conflicts of interest and the revolving door in and out of the executive branch. 

All federal employees would face a ban on using their official positions to participate in matters related to their former employers. Violators would face fines and one-to-five years in prison. Agency heads, in consultation with the director of the Office of Government Ethics, could issue waivers if it were deemed in the public interest. 

Contracting officers at federal agencies would face a two-year ban on receiving any compensation from companies to which they played a role in awarding a federal contract. That would double the current cooling-off period, as well as add any affiliates and subcontractors associated with those companies. Procurement officials would also have to report any job offers their relatives receive from companies to which they have awarded contracts. Employees would face a two-year ban on any involvement with contracts involving former employers.

The bill would also serve as a reauthorization measure for the federal ethics office. It would make it harder for the president to fire the OGE director and give the agency more leeway in launching and conducting investigations and more teeth in enforcement, including through disciplinary action for ethics violators.

The measure is expected to pass the House, where all Democrats have signed on as cosponsors. Republicans have so far balked at the package, making its fate in the Senate uncertain. President Biden on Monday endorsed the legislation. 

“These provisions would ensure that government works for the people and guard against corruption across the highest levels of government,” the White House said in a statement. 

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.