H.R. 2346: Overseas Comparability Pay, Almost Here

I was not paying much attention to this; the CRS summary from May 2009 did not even include the OCP adjustment in its text. But it looks like H.R. 2346: Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2009 “Making supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2009, and for other purposes” is going to be the vehicle that would finally close the overseas comparability gap in the Foreign Service.

H.R. 2346 passed the House on May 14, 2009 and passed the Senate on May 21, 2009. The differences were resolved on Jun 16, 2009 and the bill was cleared for the WH on Jun 18, 2009. Having passed in identical form in both the House and Senate, this bill now awaits the signature of the President before becoming law.

See H.R. 2346 page in govtrack here. Click here for the final text of the enrolled bill (scroll down for Title XI).

Title XI: Department of State
(relevant sections on OCP, reemployment of annuitants and incentives for critical posts reprinted in full below).

Overseas Comparability Pay Adjustment
Sec. 1113.
(a) Subject to such regulations prescribed by the Secretary of State, including with respect to phase-in schedule and treatment as basic pay, and notwithstanding any other provision of law, funds appropriated for this fiscal year in this or any other Act may be used to pay an eligible member of the Foreign Service as defined in subsection (b) of this section a locality-based comparability payment (stated as a percentage) up to the amount of the locality-based comparability payment (stated as a percentage) that would be payable to such member under section 5304 of title 5, United States Code if such member’s official duty station were in the District of Columbia.

(b) A member of the Service shall be eligible for a payment under this section only if the member is designated class 1 or below for purposes of section 403 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980 (22 U.S.C. 3963) and the member’s official duty station is not in the continental United States or in a non-foreign area, as defined in section 591.205 of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations.

(c) The amount of any locality-based comparability payment that is paid to a member of the Foreign Service under this section shall be subject to any limitations on pay applicable to locality-based comparability payments under section 5304 of title 5, United States Code.

Technical and Other Provisions
Sec. 1115.
(a) Modification- Title III of division H of Public Law 111-8 is amended under the heading ‘Economic Support Fund’ in the second proviso by striking ‘up to $20,000,000’ and inserting ‘not less than $20,000,000’.

(b) Notification Requirement- Funds appropriated by this Act that are transferred to the Department of State or the United States Agency for International Development from any other Federal department or agency shall be subject to the regular notification procedures of the Committees on Appropriations, notwithstanding any other provision of law.

(c) Reemployment of Annuitants-

(1) Section 824 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980 (22 U.S.C. 4064) is amended in subsection (g)(1) by inserting ‘, Pakistan,’ after ‘Iraq’ each place it appears; and, in subsection (g)(2) by striking ‘2009’ and inserting instead ‘2010’.

(2) Section 61 of the State Department Basic Authorities Act of 1956 (22 U.S.C. 2733) is amended in subsection (a)(1) by adding ‘, Pakistan,’ after ‘Iraq’ each place it appears; and, in subsection (a)(2) by striking ‘2008’ and inserting instead ‘2010’.

(3) Section 625 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2385) is amended in subsection (j)(1)(A) by adding ‘, Pakistan,’ after ‘Iraq’ each place it appears; and, in subsection (j)(1)(B) by striking ‘2008’ and inserting instead ‘2010’.

(d) Incentives for Critical Posts- Notwithstanding sections 5753(a)(2)(A) and 5754(a)(2)(A) of title 5, United States Code, appropriations made available by this or any other Act may be used to pay recruitment, relocation, and retention bonuses under chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code to members of the Foreign Service, other than chiefs of mission and ambassadors at large, who are on official duty in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Pakistan. This authority shall terminate on October 1, 2010.

(e) Of the funds appropriated under the heading ‘Foreign Military Financing Program’ in Public Law 110-161 that are available for assistance for Colombia, $500,000 may be transferred to, and merged with, funds appropriated under the heading ‘International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement’ to provide medical and rehabilitation assistance for members of Colombian security forces who have suffered severe injuries.

There — are you smiling yet? This is turning out to be a memorable June. If I don’t catch the news when POTUS sign this into law, please zap me an email.

Related Item: (updated 6/22/09)
AFSANet on Closing the Overseas Pay Gap

Updated: 6/22/09 @10:29 pm:

Thomas indicates that H.R. 2346 was cleared for the White House on 6/18/2009 and presented to the President on 6/19/2009. The following describes the enactment into law following approval by both houses. Read the whole thing here.

Article I, Section 7, of the Constitution outlines the procedure for presidential judgment of legislation. The president has four options: sign the bill, which makes it law; VETO the bill and return it to Congress; refuse to take any action, in which case, after ten days, the bill becomes law without the president’s signature; or, if less than ten days are left in the congressional term, “pocket veto” the bill by not signing it (because Congress has no time to take up the bill, the pocket veto kills the bill).

There should be a final word on this between now and July 3.

WH Rolls Out 4th Batch of Nominees for Ambassadors

On June 19, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals for key administration posts:

  • Matthew Barzun, Ambassador to Sweden
    (Political Appointee)

  • John R. Bass, Ambassador to Georgia
    (Career Diplomat)

  • Ertharin Cousin, Nominee for U.S. Representative to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture with the rank of Ambassador during her tenure of service
    (Political Appointee)

  • James B. Foley, Ambassador to the Republic of Croatia
    (Career Diplomat)

  • Kenneth E. Gross, Jr., Ambassador to the Republic of Tajikistan
    (Career Diplomat)

  • Samuel L. Kaplan, Ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco
    (Political Appointee)

  • Jerry P. Lanier, Ambassador to the Republic of Uganda
    (Career Diplomat)

  • Teddy B. Taylor, Ambassador to the Solomon Islands, the Republic of Vanuatu, and Papua New Guinea
    (Career Diplomat)

I’ll try to have some more on these nominees later. But just off the bat, wow! Two of these career nominees are coming out of Human Resources! Two have Iraqi-related previous assignments and one with military-related assignment. Two of the three political appointees in this list according to Public Citizen are not only Obama bundlers but also contributors to the transition.

Related Item:

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts, 6-19-09

Confirmed: Jenkins, Goosby, Schwartz, and Shapiro

On June 19, the Senate confirmed the following civilian Executive Nominations for the State Department:

Bonnie D. Jenkins
, of New York, for the rank of Ambassador during her tenure of service as Coordinator for Threat Reduction Programs.

Eric P. Goosby, of California, to be Ambassador at Large and Coordinator of United States Government Activities to Combat HIV/AIDS Globally.

Eric P. Schwartz, of New York, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Population, Refugees, and Migration).

Andrew J. Shapiro, of New York, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Political-Military Affairs).

Congressional Record for these nominees will not be published until Monday, June 22. I’ll try and add them here if I can.

Congressional Record – Senate Confirmation
[Page: S6858] GPO’s PDF

Video of the Week: Hans Rosling on HIV

New facts and stunning data visuals

Hans Rosling unveils new data visuals that untangle the complex risk factors of one of the world’s deadliest (and most misunderstood) diseases: HIV. He argues that preventing transmissions — not drug treatments — is the key to ending the epidemic.

Even the most worldly and well-traveled among us will have their perspectives shifted by Hans Rosling. A professor of global health at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, his current work focuses on dispelling common myths about the so-called developing world, which (he points out) is no longer worlds away from the west. In fact, most of the third world is on the same trajectory toward health and prosperity, and many countries are moving twice as fast as the west did.

What sets Rosling apart isn’t just his apt observations of broad social and economic trends, but the stunning way he presents them. Guaranteed: You’ve never seen data presented like this. By any logic, a presentation that tracks global health and poverty trends should be, in a word: boring. But in Rosling’s hands, data sings. Trends come to life. And the big picture — usually hazy at best — snaps into sharp focus.

Rosling’s presentations are grounded in solid statistics (often drawn from United Nations data), illustrated by the visualization software he developed. The animations transform development statistics into moving bubbles and flowing curves that make global trends clear, intuitive and even playful. During his legendary presentations, Rosling takes this one step farther, narrating the animations with a sportscaster’s flair.

Rosling developed the breakthrough software behind his visualizations through his nonprofit Gapminder, founded with his son and daughter-in-law. The free software — which can be loaded with any data — was purchased by Google in March 2007. (Rosling met the Google founders at TED.)

Rosling began his wide-ranging career as a physician, spending many years in rural Africa tracking a rare paralytic disease (which he named konzo) and discovering its cause: hunger and badly processed cassava. He co-founded Médecins sans Frontièrs (Doctors without Borders) Sweden, wrote a textbook on global health, and as a professor at the Karolinska Institut in Stockholm initiated key international research collaborations. He’s also personally argued with many heads of state, including Fidel Castro.

From TED.com. Hans Rosling was one of the speakers during TED@State but videos of that talk has not been posted online yet.

Related Items:

TED@State on Flickr

TED Blog on TED@State