Matthew Haynes
/ Categories: TIP, 564

Congress Passes FY 2019 Spending Bill

On February 14, after months of negotiations and the longest government shutdown in history, Congress passed a compromise $333 billion, seven-bill fiscal year (FY) 2019 appropriations “minibus” package.  President Trump signed the bill into law on February 15. This is the third and final minibus passed by Congress for FY 2019, just 1 day shy of the expiration of a stop-gap measure that averted another government shutdown for major research agencies such as the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).  The Department of Energy and Department of Defense received finalized FY 2019 under earlier minibus packages.

The final FY 2019 minibus package accounts for 25% of discretionary spending and reflects the House–Senate agreement struck last December on FY 2019 funding prior to the shutdown, save for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) border wall funding.  The final funding package passed with largely bipartisan support with the House voting 300 to 138 in favor and passing the Senate by 83– 16.  NSF is funded at $8.075 billion in the minibus, an increase of $308 million or 4.0% over the FY 2018 enacted level, whereas NASA received $21.5 billion, which is $763 million or 3.7% above FY 2018, including an increase of $684.2 million for science programs.

Federal agencies impacted by the partial government shutdown that are wrestling with prolonged effects and delays, will now have an abbreviated timeline to obligate FY 2019 funding before the end of the fiscal year in September.

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SIOP Informs Policymakers of the Effects of Shutdown Furloughs on Federal Workforce

On January 23, the 33rd day of the partial government shutdown, SIOP President Talya Bauer coordinated with Lewis-Burke Associates LLC (Lewis-Burke) to send a letter to congressional leadership, urging them to consider I-O psychology findings on the destabilizing impacts of shutdown furloughs on the federal workforce.  The letter aligns with both SIOP’s advocacy mission to ensure I-O psychology research and practices are considered in the development of federal policies and the Society’s commitment to support our members impacted by the partial shutdown.

The letter showcases I-O research findings that were reviewed and cleared by SIOP members who are experts on the impacts of prolonged furloughs on federal employees.  Findings included decreased organizational commitment, stress and exhaustion, reduced productivity, decreased trust, and dissatisfaction.  The letter encourages policymakers to consider these impacts on the federal workforce, including SIOP members, during ongoing and future budgetary deliberations, and offers SIOP as a resource going forward. 

This letter serves as a concrete example of SIOP expertise and interest in sound federal workforce policies and will be leveraged in future interactions with relevant congressional staff.  Complete text of the letter can be found on the SIOP website.

Working Group on the Technology-Enabled Workforce Hits the Ground Running

As previously reported, SIOP has launched a new Advocacy Area on the Technology-Enabled Workforce to provide member-driven support for advocacy for the consideration of evidence-based I-O psychology as policymakers address the various challenges and opportunities related to areas such as the impact of automation and new technologies on the workforce.  Since forming, the Advocacy Area working group has been hard at work to get their message out to policymakers. 

The working group began by collaborating to draft an advocacy statement to inform federal stakeholders on I-O psychology and how it can help shape policies to better integrate technology into the workforce and build an effective “workforce of the future,” an emerging priority for Congress and federal agencies.  The statement, which provides practical examples of how I-O findings can be leveraged to address several issues in the ongoing debate over the future of work, will be used as a tool for engaging federal audiences who may not be familiar with SIOP or I-O.  The statement addresses several key topics, including automation, cybersecurity, teleworking and contingent workforces, STEM education and training pipelines, and the implementation of new technologies.

The working group then provided feedback on a draft bill obtained by Lewis-Burke, which aims to create a national initiative to address artificial intelligence (AI) research and workforce development.  The working group worked closely with Lewis-Burke to suggest language for congressional staff drafting the bill that raises the profile of I-O research and ensures I-O principles are being considered when developing strategies around training an AI workforce and integrating AI technologies into the workplace.  Lewis-Burke will be sure to provide additional information on the bill as it is introduced and considered by Congress in the coming weeks.

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