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The Democrats’ proposed slavery reparations commission legislation contains an outdated provision that designates top-tier GS-18 federal pay for each member of the commission it establishes.

According to the Office of Personnel Management, the highest pay grade for federal civil service employees is currently the GS-15 level, which goes up to $172,500.

The Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act sets up the commission to “address the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery in the United States and the 13 American colonies between 1619 and 1865 and to establish a commission to study and consider a national apology and proposal for reparations for the institution of slavery.” The 13 colonies were under the control of Great Britain until the U.S. gained its independence in 1776.

If passed and signed into law, the bill would require the commission to “recommend appropriate remedies in consideration” of its findings after studying reparations and the history of slavery. 

According to the legislation, the 13-member commission would be comprised of “persons who are especially qualified to serve on the commission by virtue of their education, training, activism or experience, particularly in the field of African American studies and reparatory justice.” According to the legislation, “seven members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum, but a lesser number may hold hearings.” 

Each member of the commission would be paid at “the daily equivalent of the annual rate of basic pay payable for GS–18 of the General Schedule.” The language of this portion of the bill appears to be outdated because the federal government’s top pay levels of GS-16 through GS-18 ended with the passage of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978.

According to an official summary of the bill, it repealed “the provisions of law relating to the special authority of agencies to (1) appoint individuals to positions at GS-16, GS-17, and GS-18 of the General Schedule, and (2) establish scientific and professional positions outside of the General Schedule.”

The top-tier pay grade for civil federal employees is currently GS-15. According to the Federal News Network

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, GS-15 pay for 2021 maxes out at $172,500 per year, including the 1% pay increase that “the vast majority of federal employees” received. Beyond GS-15, there is the elite Senior Executive Service, which is comprised of positions “just below the top presidential appointees,” according to OPM. These positions are part of a performance-based pay system, and the “applicable maximum rate of basic pay for the SES is $199,300.”

The reparations bill specifies that compensation for the commissioners would include pay for each day, including travel time, “during which he or she is engaged in the actual performance of duties vested in the commission.” The total cost of the bill is estimated at $12 million. 

The House bill, which has 162 Democratic co-sponsors, was introduced by Texas Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee. The Senate version that was introduced by New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker has 17 Democratic co-sponsors. The bill was first introduced by former Michigan Democratic Rep. John Conyers in 1989.

Just the News found the original 1989 text of the bill, and it specifies that commissioners would be paid at the GS-18 level — which appears to indicate that compensation provision of the current version of the bill has not been updated in the ensuing decades.

Since the latest version of the bill still cites GS-18 for the commissioners’ compensation, it is unclear if the commissioners would be paid at the top GS-15 level or the Senior Executive Service level.

The offices of Jackson Lee and Booker did not return a request for comment about the federal pay provision of the legislation. 

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FBI official: No shots fired by rioters, no firearms recovered during siege on U.S. Capitol

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No firearms were recovered on the U.S. Capitol grounds on Jan. 6 during the riot, and no shots were fired by the demonstrators, an FBI official on Wednesday told Congress.

“To my knowledge we have not recovered any [firearms] on that day from any of the arrests at the scene at this point,” said Jill Sanborn, assistant director of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division. “No one has been charged with a firearms violation.”

Sanborn made her comments during a joint oversight hearing in the Senate to examine the breach of the U.S. Capitol. In addition to Sanborn, witnesses included the commander of the Washington, D.C. National Guard, and civilian officials from the Pentagon. 

During testimony, Sanborn responded to questions from Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, who asked whether firearms were present or used during the siege.

“How many shots were fired that we know of?” Johnson asked.

“The only shots fired were the ones that resulted in the death of the one lady,” Sanborn said, referencing Ashli Babbitt, a protester who was shot and killed by a Capitol Police officer during heightened tension inside the building.

Other testimony examined the timeline of when the National Guard was dispatched to help an overwhelmed civilian police force during the siege on the Capitol.

The National Guard was dispatched to the riot more than three hours after Capitol Police made a desperate call for help with a “dire emergency,” a two-star general testified Wednesday before Congress.

Major Gen. William Walker, who commands the District of Columbia National Guard, told senators that the 1:49 p.m. call for help from the guard on Jan. 6 was approved in a message that reached him after 5 p.m. At that point, troops who were waiting on buses sped to the Capitol, and helped to secure a perimeter, Walker said.

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Walker made his comments during a hearing to examine the breach of the U.S. Capitol. In addition to Walker, civilian officials from the Pentagon and the FBI are scheduled to testify. 

Walker told senators he was “sickened by the physical and mental harm” that came to civilian police who responded to the riot.

The hearing comes one day after FBI Director Chris Wray appeared before members the Senate Judiciary Committee to address his agency’s investigative efforts regarding the Jan. 6 incident.

The Wednesday session marks the second joint oversight hearing in the Senate between the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the Committee on Rules and Administration to examine security and intelligence failures that led to the breach. 

“The committees are seeking testimony from federal national security and counterterrorism agencies on their roles in intelligence gathering, security preparations and the response to the attack on the U.S Capitol,” committee officials wrote in a joint statement.

Other witnesses include Robert Salesses, from the Department of Defense; and Melissa Smislova, from the Department of Homeland Security.

The Washington, D.C. National Guard’s commander, Maj. Gen. William Walker, was not on the original witness list, but was added on Monday to the roster.

Officials have said that the congressional investigation into the Jan. 6 breach could span more than a year. A previous joint hearing brought in current and former officials who were responsible Jan. 6 for securing the Capitol.

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VIDEO: Psaki Says She’d ‘Be Happy’ to Face McEnany on Fox

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Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York says he’s ‘actively exploring’ a 2022 gubernatorial bid

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Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York has announced that he’s exploring the possibility of a gubernatorial bid.

The GOP congressman’s announcement comes as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, faces allegations of sexual harassment and criticism related to nursing home deaths amid the coronavirus crisis.

“With his nursing home cover-up & abuse coming more to light, it’s clear #CuomosGottaGo. As a NYer, I can’t sit back as Cuomo attacks our freedoms, our wallets & our safety. After many msgs of encouragement & discussing w/ my fam, I’m actively exploring a 2022 run for Gov of NY,” Zeldin tweeted

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