The Foreign Service Journal, March 2020

68 MARCH 2020 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL AFSA NEWS Congress Passes 2020 Appropriations Package, Including 2.6 Percent Pay Increase In late December, Congress passed—and the president signed—the final Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations package, which fended off a government shutdown and provides federal funding until Oct. 1. The package consists of two separate bills that together contain all 12 appropriations bills. In the final FY2020 pack- age, the international affairs budget totals $56.6 billion, a slight increase above the FY2019 level. Department of State/ USAID funding totals $54.7 billion, of which $47.6 billion is base discretionary funding and $8 billion is Overseas Contingency Operations funding. Overseas Programs, the funding stream for sending members of the Foreign Service to posts abroad, increased by more than $500 million from the FY2019 level. The package also includes congressional lan- guage for State and USAID funds to restore the number of Foreign Service officers to pre–hiring freeze levels, con- sistent with staffing levels funded in FY2016. Additionally, the package contains the Championing American Business Through Diplomacy Act, a key AFSA priority highlighting the importance of economic diplomacy in an increasingly competitive world. This bill increases economic and commercial diplomacy training, seeks to improve awareness of government services that support U.S. businesses overseas and provides for whole-of-government coor- dination and consultation to support American business interests. Finally, the appropria- tions package includes a 2.6-percent across-the- board increase in base pay, with an additional 0.5 per- cent in locality adjustments, for a total average pay raise of 3.1 percent for federal civilian employees. AFSA is grateful for Congress’ commitment to robust funding for the international affairs budget, our diplomatic corps and development programs. n Hatch Act: What Every Employee Needs to Know With less than a year to go before the 2020 general election, Ana Galindo-Mar- rone—chief of the Hatch Act Unit at the Office of Special Counsel—shared guidance at AFSA headquarters on Dec. 3 about how the Hatch Act applies to members of the U.S. Foreign Service. Some key points from Ms. Galindo- Marrone’s presentation follow. Whether on or off duty, Foreign Service employees are prohibited at all times from tweeting, retweeting, sharing or liking a post or content that solicits financial contributions for a partisan political candidate/party/ group. Employees are also prohibited from becoming a candidate for public office in a partisan election. While on duty or in the workplace, Foreign Service employees are prohibited from engaging in partisan political activity via social media. This means employ- ees cannot share, like or retweet posts from a partisan political candidate or group. Employees also cannot post or retweet a comment directed at the success or failure of a partisan political candidate or group. While in the United States and outside of the workplace, FS employees may: • have campaign bumper stickers on their personal vehicles; • display campaign signs at their home; • follow, like or comment on the social media pages of a candidate for partisan office, political party or parti- san group; • attend political rallies, meetings and/or fundraisers, Ana Galindo-Marrone discusses the Hatch Act at AFSA headquarters on Dec. 3. AFSA/CAMERONWOODWORTH