When they wake up Wednesday, Nov. 9th, millions of Americans will be suffering a political hangover because the candidate they voted for lost. Or won.
Pundits tell us this election featured the two least attractive, trusted candidates ever offered by the two major parties. That said, you work with what you are given. So many (some) will either vote for or against one of the candidates. Or sit out the election. Time, and the numbers, will tell.
Federal and postal workers have a larger stake in the election than many other voters because in addition to electing their new CEO and Commander in Chief, the winner will also staff the government with friends, colleagues, advisors they trust (or owe) and they will run federal agencies as Schedule C or non-career Senior Executive Service appointees. The average shelf life for these appointees is roughly 18 months, meaning you will have several different up-close-and-personal leaders over the next four (possibly 8) years. And we will be electing members of Congress, the Board of Directors, in the form of new Senators and House members. Big change, even if there isn’t much change.
The congressional plan is to return to Washington after the election (like in mid-November) for about 12 legislative days of hard work. That could mean a few rare days when either Monday or Friday are in the workweek. Then its off for the Thanksgiving break. One of the decisions will be whether to allow a government shutdown, or renew the current CR (continuing resolution) which expires Dec. 9th, to approve another CR or approve an Omnibus Appropriations package that will keep the government running through the 2017 fiscal year, when ends Sept. 30, 2017.
Also up for grabs is the proposed federal pay raise. If the Congress continues to do nothing about it (as in remain silent) the raise will be 1 percent across the board. There is another .6 percent available for high-wage locality cities like San Francisco-San Jose, Los Angeles, Houston and Dallas-Ft. Worth, New York, Chicago and Washington-Baltimore.
Insiders say the outlook for an Omnibus Appropriation fix is good because members — whether they won or lost — will be anxious to wrap things up. Most of the sticking points that lead to the delay in approving the short-term CR (Syrian refugees, Planned Parenthood, Puerto Rico, Zika funding and help for Flint, Mich. and its dangerous water situation) have either been resolved or are close to it.
A few members — either lame ducks or those about to return — may introduce some parting shots legislation: making it easier to fire feds, or crunching the civil service to make feds “at-will” employees. But for the immediate future, compared to what some proposed and what could have happened, things are likely to remain calm until January. After that its buckle-your-seat belts time. Again.