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Public Statements

Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2007

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2007

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Mr. BRADLEY of New Hampshire. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, I want to begin by thanking Chairman Young and Mr. Murtha for their hard work and support of our troops and support of our Nation's defense, but I also join with my colleagues who have previously spoken.

In November of 2003, I supported the National Defense Authorization Act, which authorized the NSPS system. At that time, I believed that NSPS would produce greater efficiencies in government. Further, I believed NSPS would reward government employees that displayed personal initiative, hard work, and productivity, all at the same time while preserving collective bargaining and Civil Service protections.

Unfortunately, as others have outlined, the implementation of NSPS has been staggered and revised on several different situations, indicating both the complexity and the problems when applying some of the good aspects of NSPS with the reality of its implementation.

Last November the Department of Defense and the Office of Personnel Management published the final regulations for NSPS. These did not live up to the spirit of cooperation and collaboration between the government and labor that was promised when Congress passed the authorization bill several years ago.

In fact, as has already been alluded to, a Federal judge agreed with representatives of labor that NSPS failed to meet fundamental standards. On February 27, 2006, a Federal court enjoined the NSPS regulations because they failed to ensure collective bargaining rights, did not provide for independent third-party review of labor relations decisions, and failed to provide a fair process for appealing adverse actions.

For the thousands of Federal workers at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, which is in my district, the NSPS regulations as proposed would have had a damaging impact. The shipyard's unique labor and management relationship has created tremendous efficiencies and progress and has become a model for good government. This progress and the relationship at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard could well be lost under the NSPS program.

Under the broad and rigid centralized NSPS regime, the flexibility that has led to some of our government's best practices and most successful entities would be impossible. In fact, representatives of labor have indicated to me that many of the efficiencies that were the result of labor-management agreements would not have been possible under NSPS.

NSPS, as proposed, systematically restricts opportunities for labor representatives to communicate, negotiate and collaborate with Pentagon management. Given the exemplary record of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, which is in my district, which has returned submarines to the water and to fleet commanders sooner than any other yard in the country, all while saving significant millions of dollars on submarine maintenance for taxpayers, it is difficult to imagine that none of this could have been possible under the proposed NSPS format.

So, Mr. Chairman, I appreciate my colleagues who have spoken previously on this issue, and I rise in support of this amendment and ask the entire House to support it tonight.

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