Weekly Updates

IRS Budget Increase, Hiring 5,000 Workers, Upcoming Board Elections, & More

March 11, 2022
Daylight Saving Begins Sunday

While winter is still with us for another week, time marches on. In much of the nation, we will move our clocks ahead one hour on Sunday at 2AM local time. This has the effect of waking up an hour earlier on Monday so please be careful when driving.

FY22 Omnibus Passes with Largest Increase to IRS Budget Since 2001

Last night, the Senate passed the FY22 spending bill, averting a shutdown and funding the government through September 30th. The IRS received $675 million over its FY21 funding level - a total of $12.6 billion. This is the largest single-year increase in 20 years and we are grateful that Congress is beginning to understand the IRS's critical importance. However, this amount is below President Biden's request for $13.2 billion, and is $4 billion below our FY11 budget of $16.4 billion (in 2022 dollars).

We continue to advocate for Congress to do its job and pass timely appropriations legislation - this is no way to run a government. We also will continue to seek multi-year funding for IRS modernization so that large-scale IT infrastructure projects can be planned and executed outside of the annual appropriations frenzy.


The Individual and Business Master Files (IMF, BMF) celebrate their 60th birthday this year! PMA wants to help Congress and the American public appreciate how badly the IRS needs modernization funding. Part of our IMF/BMF@60 campaign will feature facts and context to help frame the true age of our primary computing database. As a reminder, the IRS still relies on the oldest continually operating database in the entire federal government.

In 1959, the Eisenhower Administration and Congress approved IRS plans to install a nationwide automatic data processing system. In January 1961, President Kennedy was inaugurated and automated data processing entered full operation, processing up to 680,000 characters (only 2.7 kilobytes!) per second. Yes, you read that correctly - you are using a computing system developed in the Eisenhower Administration.

Less Than Two Weeks Until PMA's Scholarship Deadline

In just a little less than two weeks, at 3PM EDT on Thursday, March, 24, 2022, PMA's scholarship application will close. Students applying for the 2022-23 academic year must complete their applications, include all attachments, and click "submit" before the deadline in order to be considered for a scholarship.

Here are a few things to watch out for:
-PMA awards ten $2,000 scholarships to our members, their spouses, their children, and their grandchildren. The PMA member listed on the application must be a member in good standing. If your membership lapsed, contact us immediately so we can help you resume dues withholding.

-The account created in FEEA's application system must belong to the student applying (not a parent, sibling, or someone else). Each student must have their own account.

-If you were enrolled in school during the Fall 2021 semester, please follow the application instructions for how to include your Fall grades. Missing grades is a reason students are disqualified every year!

-If you are not in the Eastern time zone, make sure you convert the deadline to your own time zone (e.g., applicants in Hawaii, you must submit by 9:00am local time!). The deadline is 3:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time on Thursday, March 24, 2022.

-Don't forget to click "submit"! If you submitted at any time and then reopened your application or made changes, you must click "submit" again.

Check out FEEA's scholarship webinar for more tips!

Be Careful When Donating to Ukraine

The desire to give support to people impacted by war is a good one. In the specific case of the conflict in Ukraine, federal workers, especially those with security clearances, must carefully plan how they offer support. The Ukraine government created a website to collect donations for its military, in addition to the hundreds of GoFundMe and other similar pages seeking monetary donations. Providing financial support to any foreign national as well as support to a foreign government are both things you must report on your SF-86.

Your best bet is to give to US-based charity that provides assistance to people in Ukraine, or any other international conflict or tragedy. It will certainly make your next security clearance reauthorization interview a lot less stressful.

Legislative News

While the big news of the week was Congress passing the FY22 budget, it was a tremendous accomplishment to also see the Postal Reform Act pass into law. We here at PMA and our partners in the Fed-Postal Coalition have worked for years on this legislation. While stabilizing the USPS is a critical priority for all Americans, this was of key importance to PMA because the underlying need for reform impacts what each of our members pay for healthcare. Under the new law, postal workers will continue to participate in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) but in a separate risk pool. In addition, postal retirees will be required to participate in Medicare Parts A & B. This means that the overall age of the FEHBP pool will decrease and OPM expects premiums to decrease for plan participants, but also for postal retirees. Postal retirees will have lower FEHBP premiums because they will uniformly have Medicare as their primary carrier - so, if they choose to continue their federal health insurance in retirement, that plan will only pay what Medicare does not cover.

Developments at the IRS

We are continuing our dialogue with IRS leadership on the AM Surge Team and the additional support coming from SBSE. We look forward to another briefing with the agency next week. We also scheduled a meeting with Commissioner Rettig, the Deputy Commissioners, the acting Chief of Staff, and the Chief Human Capital Officer later this month to share more broadly our concerns for the Service and how to better integrate the perspectives of our members in executive decision-making.

We wanted to highlight the Service's initiative to hire as many as 5,000 workers in Austin, Kansas City, and Ogden, using direct-hire authority (DHA). DHA allows the agency to make offers to qualified candidates on the spot - foregoing the protracted review and ranking process. The Service is offering a sign-on incentive of 2% of salary (minimum $1,000) if the candidate serves at least one year. To learn more about the virtual and in-person hiring events, be sure to visit the IRS's careers site.

PMA and Partner Events

Introduction to PMA's University Partners. PMA has teamed up with American Military University and American Public University, leaders in online education with a strong track record helping federal government professionals achieve their learning goals. In this live presentation, you will hear from a representative of the American Public University System to help you understand your newest membership benefit - reduced tuition and fees for undergraduate and graduate coursework. On Wednesday, March 16th, 2PM-3PM Eastern, join this Zoom webinar to hear more. This event is free and open to all. Register today!

Board Informational Session. Would you like to help us make the IRS a better place to work? PMA has an election coming up this spring and we want our members to have an opportunity to learn more about what it means to serve on PMA's National Board of Directors. Join us on Wednesday, March 23rd, from 3PM-4PM via Zoom. This meeting is open to active IRS members in good standing only. Register today!

Working Forward Forum: Addressing Pay Gaps in Government. Join our friends at the Senior Executives Association and the National Academy of Public Administration for a panel discussion on the topic of “pay gaps” and efforts to address them in government and industry.

Panelists include:
-Tom Costa, Director, Education, Workforce, and Income Security, Government Accountability Office (GAO), and author of several studies on these issues;
-Angela Bailey, NAPA Fellow and former Chief Human Capital Officer, Department of Homeland Security (DHS);
-Jeff Rosenblum, Chief Human Capital Officer, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC); and
-Margo Carsten, Vice President for Total Rewards (compensation), General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT).
-The panel will be moderated by Kimberly Walton, NAPA Fellow and former CHCO, Transportation Security Agency (TSA), DHS.

On Thursday, March 17th, 11AM-12PM Eastern, join this Zoom webinar to hear more. This event is free and open to all. Register today!

COVID Updates

Some federal workers may join a class action suit seeking hazard pay for working through the pandemic. You are eligible if you meet all five of these conditions:
-You were a federal employee; and
-You have been exposed to COVID-19 during the performance of your official duties; and
-Your position is eligible for hazardous duty and/or environmental differential pay; and
-Your position description does not take into account exposure to infectious diseases like COVID-19; and
-You have not been paid hazardous duty and/or environmental differential pay for all of your working time in which you were exposed to COVID-19.

Learn more about the suit on its dedicated website and submit your name if eligible.

At this time, 98% of federal workers are in compliance with the vaccine mandate and 93% of workers are vaccinated. Discipline related to the vaccine mandate is still paused while a case makes its way through the courts. During arguments before the Fifth Circuit this week, judges appeared open to limiting the nationwide injunction to the workers who brought the suit. If the ruling is narrowed, it is likely that enforcement would resume shortly thereafter. It's never too late to begin your vaccine series - to find a vaccine appointment near you, visit www.vaccines.gov or www.vacunas.gov.

Join PMA in Celebrating FEEA's 36th Birthday

PMA's official charity, the Federal Employee Education & Assistance Fund (FEEA) is celebrating its 36th anniversary. The Feds In Motion Challenge is all about moving in your favorite way — walk, run, bike, swim, or roll on your favorite route — to reach the goal of 36 miles (or more!) in 36 days. Click here to register for the celebration. If you have coworkers or friends who haven't registered yet, please share far and wide. All are welcome on #TeamPMA and thank you to all who've joined the team so far!

Challenge registrants will receive t-shirts, participation medals, digital bibs, an easy tool to upload your mileage anytime to the leaderboard, digital finisher certificates, fun digital badges for mileage milestones and fundraising achievements, special Wellness Wednesday events with prize drawings, other cool swag from FEEA's sponsors, and prizes for top fundraisers. Be sure to sign up today!

We are also using this as an opportunity to raise some money for FEEA to help Feds in need. Consider making a tax deductible donation.

Weekly updates