Hoyer, National Capital Region Delegation Urge Chairs of the Armed Services Committees to Provide All Federal Employees with Paid Family and Medical Leave Benefits

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05), House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (VA-11), and Representatives Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-AL), John Sarbanes (MD-03), Don Beyer (VA-08), Anthony Brown (MD-04), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), David Trone (MD-06), and Jennifer Wexton (VA-10) sent a letter to the Chairs of the Armed Services Committees, who are leading the conference committee working to reconcile the House- and Senate-passed versions of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).  The letter urges them to maintain the House version’s inclusion of 12 weeks paid family and medical leave benefits for all federal employees.  Hoyer, who represents 62,000 federal employees in Maryland’s Fifth District, has been a strong proponent of paid family and medical leave for federal employees for many years, and he has advocated for such benefits to help recruit and retain talented Americans to serve in our federal workforce and make federal jobs competitive with the private sector. 

The House passed its version of the NDAA in July, and the Senate approved its version in June. Now, as conferees led by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (WA-09) and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-OK) continue working to resolve differences, they will have to decide whether to maintain the inclusion of paid family and medical leave benefits for federal employees in the final conference report.  Some conferees have suggested extending this benefit only to Department of Defense employees, which would create two classes of federal employees in terms of benefits and would be unacceptable to the letters’ authors. 

“We were proud to …work closely with the House Armed Services Committee Members and staff to ensure that it enhanced this year’s NDAA by helping to recruit and retain the best and brightest Americans to work at the Department of Defense and other agencies throughout our government,” the Members wrote.  “This would also set a strong example for the private sector, where too many employees still do not have access to paid family and medical leave.  We understand that the conferees are considering extending mandatory paid family and medical leave solely to Department of Defense employees.  This would be an unacceptable outcome, as it would create two classes of federal employees and deny a benefit to a majority of federal workers for no reason other than the agency at which they work.  We urge the conferees to preserve the progress made in the House bill on behalf of all federal employees and their families.”

Click here to read the signed letter or see below. 

December 4, 2019

Chairman Adam Smith
House Armed Services Committee
2216 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Chairman James Inhofe
Senate Committee on Armed Services
228 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Smith and Chairman Inhofe:

On July 12, the House passed H.R. 2500, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2020, which invests in a strong and ready military, provides for a pay increase for our troops, promotes a more diverse and inclusive armed forces, and ensures close collaboration with our allies in standing against aggression from Russia.  The Senate passed its own version in June.  Reaching agreement in conference to move a final version to passage in the House and the Senate soon will provide certainty to our military and reassurance to our men and women in uniform that Congress has their backs. 

Among the provisions appended to this bill in the House is legislation to extend twelve weeks of paid family and medical leave to federal civilian employees.  We were proud to advocate for its inclusion and to work closely with the House Armed Services Committee Members and staff to ensure that it enhanced this year’s NDAA by helping to recruit and retain the best and brightest Americans to work at the Department of Defense and other agencies throughout our government.  This would also set a strong example for the private sector, where too many employees still do not have access to paid family and medical leave.  We understand that the conferees are considering extending mandatory paid family and medical leave solely to Department of Defense employees.  This would be an unacceptable outcome, as it would create two classes of federal employees and deny a benefit to a majority of federal workers for no reason other than the agency at which they work.  We urge the conferees to preserve the progress made in the House bill on behalf of all federal employees and their families.

Thank you for your bipartisan work on this matter, and we stand ready to work with you to ensure that paid family and medical leave for our nation’s hardworking federal employees can be signed into law soon. 

Sincerely,

STENY H. HOYER
House Majority Leader

GERALD E. CONNOLLY
Chairman, Subcommittee on Government Operations

ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON
Member of Congress

JOHN SARBANES
Member of Congress

DON BEYER
Member of Congress

ANTHONY BROWN
Member of Congress

JAMIE RASKIN
Member of Congress

DAVID TRONE
Member of Congress

JENNIFER WEXTON
Member of Congress

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