NARFE - Chapter 97
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Archived Legislative News

LEGISLATIVE REPORT SEPT. 2021

 

LEGISLATIVE REPORT JULY-AUGUST 2021

During our LEGCON21 conference, NARFE identified the following Legislative priorities for the 117 Congress and encourage members to contact their Legislators to support these priorities.

The Social Security Fairness Act H.R. 82 and S.1302 would fully repel both the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset(GPO).

It unfairly reduces Social Security benefits of many federal, state and local government retirees due their receipt of a government pension (WEP reduces primary benefits and GPO reduces spousal benefits) and together, affects over 2.5 million NARFE members nationwide.

To date 187 Representatives have cosponsored this legislation, including all of the KY. Representatives.

 On July 1, 2021 The Fair Cola for Seniors Act, H. R. 4315 was reintroduced in the house.  The bill would require the use of the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E), which calculates a price index for Americans age 62 and older, to determine annual COLAs for Social Security beneficiaries, federal annuitants, military retirees and certain veterans’ benefits instead of the CPI-W. The CPI-W fails to account for seniors’ spending habits, notably that of medical care. Adoption of the CPI-E could increase COLAs by an average of 0.27% and adds up over time.

Also ask representatives to cosponsor the Equal COLA Act, H.R. 304, to ensure FERS COLAs match the change in consumer prices (not capped at 2%).

The Postal Service Reform Act of 2021, H.R.3076 / S. 1720. This bill would allow postal retirees the option to enroll in Medicare instead of forcing it as a condition of retaining their federal health insurance. The bill would also create a new Postal Service Health Benefits (PSHB) program for USPS employees and retirees starting in January 2023. OPM which administers the FEHB program would also administer the new PSHB program. With some exceptions, all postal workers and Medicare-covered postal retirees would be covered by PSHB plans. However, postal retirees without Medicare would remain in FEHB and not move into the new PSH plans (resulting in the FEHB plans covering all their health care costs). NARFE has concerns that, as written this bill could cause premiums to increase for both current and retired federal employees. NARFE encourages Congress to obtain analysis from OPM and CBO regarding the effect on FEHB premiums prior to any further action on this bill. If analysis show any adverse effect on FEHB premiums, the bill should be amended to prevent it.   Any reform of the USPS must not come at the expense of the health benefits of federal employees and retirees.

The Federal Adjustment of Income Rate (FAIR) ACT, H.R. 392/S.561 would provide a 3.2% federal pay raise for 2022; a 2.2% across the board and a 1% locality pay adjustment. Federal pay rates must remain competitive with those in the private- sector, to be able to recruit talented workers and retain its best and brightest federal employees.

Please contact and encourage our legislators to SUPPORT these initiatives by calling the Advocacy Hotline at 800-456-8410 (option 5) or call their offices; Congressman  Barr can be reached M-F at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Rd, Lexington, KY. 40509, (859) 219-1366. Senator McConnell’s Lexington office is at 771 Corporate Dr., Suite 108, 40503, (859) 224-8286.

Senator Paul’s office is at 1029 State St., Bowling Green, KY. 42101, (270) 782- 8303.

JUNE 2021 LEGISLATIVE REPORT

Be alert to the fact that the House Oversight and Reform Committee, the primary avenue for many federal employee-focused pieces of legislation, recently held a hearing centered on several pieces of legislation aimed at protecting government watchdogs and increasing transparency in the federal government. 

 The first and largest of the bills is the IG Independence and Empowerment Act.  This legislation is designed to grant federal Offices of Inspector General greater authority to subpoena relevant contractors and former employees to conduct their investigations while also ensuring that the president cannot fire an inspector general without cause. The bill would additionally prevent the president from selecting an official within the overseen agency to an acting inspector general post, while a Senate-confirmed nominee has yet to be instituted.

 Two of the bills, the Whistleblower Protection Improvement Act and the Federal Employee Access to Information Act, would expand federal employee rights to protections against retaliation. The first bill would grant federal employees the right to request a jury trial in the court system if they believe they were retaliated against for acting as a whistleblower. The second bill would protect federal employees from retaliation specifically in cases where they requested documents on the agency through a Freedom of Information Act request. 

 The remaining three bills, the Periodically Listing Updates to Management Act, the Federal Advisory Committee Transparency Act and the Presidential Records Preservation Act, are designed to increase public transparency for what is going on at federal agencies and have generally bipartisan support. The PLUM Act would update the publication of the Plum Book, a document released every four years that outlines approximately 9,000 top-level government positions and who currently occupies them. Under the new bill, the Office of Personnel Management would be required to digitize the Plum Book and keep it regularly updated so that anyone could see who occupied which important positions at any time, rather than only once every four years. 

 Voice your opinions on these legislative initiatives to our congressional members. Congressman Andy Barr can be reached M-F at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY. 40509, (859) 219-1366.

Senator McConnell’s Lexington office is at 771 Corporate Dr., Suite 108, 40503, (859) 223-8286.

Senator Paul’s office is at 1029 State St., Bowling Green, KY. 42101, (270) 782- 8303.

MAY LEGISLATIVE REPORT 2021

For Federal retirees, the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) has unfairly penalized public servants through reduced Social Security benefits for far too long. Nearly 2 million individuals see their earned Social Security benefits reduced simply because they also held a public-sector job during which they did not pay into Social Security. This bill would provide at least some much-needed relief from the penalty for those currently affected, and it will improve fairness for future retirees.

The WEP reduces the Social Security benefits of local, state, and federal retirees who worked in Social Security-covered employment (e.g., private-sector jobs) and who also receive a government annuity from their non-Social Security covered government employment. Social Security benefits are calculated using a progressive formula in which an individual’s Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME) are multiplied by three progressive factors—90 percent, 32 percent and 15 percent—at different levels of AIME, resulting in the basic monthly benefit. In 2021, the first $996 of AIME is multiplied by 90 percent. AIME of more than $996 through $6,002 is multiplied by 32 percent; AIME of more than $6,002 is multiplied by 15 percent. All three products are added together to produce the regular Social Security benefit. Under the WEP, the 90 percent factor is reduced to as low as 40 percent. 

According to the Congressional Research Service, the WEP affects 1,948,427 beneficiaries, including 1,836,538 retired workers, 12,520 workers with disabilities, and 99,369 spouses and children. In 2021, the WEP can result in a monthly benefit that is $498 lower than under the regular benefit formula. The Public Servants Protection and Fairness Act would provide current Social Security beneficiaries affected by WEP (and for future beneficiaries turning age 62 before 2023) with a $150 per month increase in their Social Security benefits to offset the WEP penalty. Social Security benefits for future retirees would be eligible for a new, fairer formula that calculates benefits based on the proportion of earnings covered by Social Security to total earnings. These future retirees would receive a benefit that is the greater of that calculated based on the new formula or the current one. 

Please contact and encourage our legislators to SUPPORT the Public Servants Protection and Fairness Act. Congressman Andy Barr can be reached M-F at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY. 40509, (859) 219-1366.

 LEGISLATIVE REPORT April 2021

NARFE often finds itself advocating with members of Congress for far reachable goals. Here is a good news result of this advocacy. Working with bipartisan Congressional leaders and members, NARFE and other organizations like the Alzheimer’s Association through the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM) was instrumental in the development, introduction and of the passage of the Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act (P.L. 115-406).

This legislation creates an Alzheimer’s public health

Infrastructure across the country to implement effective Alzheimer’s interventions focused on public health issues such as increasing early detection and diagnosis, reducing risk and preventing avoidable hospitalizations.

 The Alzheimer’s Act (P.L. 115-406) recently passed establishes Alzheimer’s and related dementias Public Health Centers of Excellence nationwide by providing funding to state, local and tribal public health departments, and increasing data analysis and timely reporting of advances in our pursuit of advances in treating and preventing Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias.

 This legislation creates Public Health Centers of Excellence to increase education to public health officials, health care professionals, and the public on Alzheimer’s, brain health, and health disparities. These Centers will also provide technical assistance to public health departments across the country in implementing effective Alzheimer’s interventions. Interventions such as these will focus on priorities such as increasing early detection and diagnosis, reducing risk, preventing avoidable hospitalizations, reducing health disparities, supporting the needs of caregivers, and supporting care planning for people living with the disease. Furthermore, these Centers will expand innovative public private partnerships that focus on addressing cognitive impairment and health disparities.

 As NARFE members, we express our appreciation to our legislators in their support of the 2021 Alzheimer’s Act.

Make the effort to effort to contact our legislators.

  Senator McConnell’s Lexington office is at 771 Corporate Dr., Suite 108, 40503 (859) 223-8286.

Senator Paul’s office is at 1029 State St., Bowling Green, KY. 42101, (270) 782- 8303.

Congressman Andy Barr can be reached M-F at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY. 40509, (859) 219-1366.

 

LEGISLATIVE REPORT- March 2021 

NARFE often finds itself advocating with members of Congress for far reachable goals. Here is a good news result of this advocacy. Working with bipartisan Congressional leaders and members, NARFE and other organizations like the Alzheimer’s Association through the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM) was instrumental in the development, introduction and of the passage of the Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act (P.L. 115-406).

This legislation creates an Alzheimer’s public health

Infrastructure across the country to implement effective Alzheimer’s interventions focused on public health issues such as increasing early detection and diagnosis, reducing risk and preventing avoidable hospitalizations.

 The Alzheimer’s Act (P.L. 115-406) recently passed establishes Alzheimer’s and related dementias Public Health Centers of Excellence nationwide by providing funding to state, local and tribal public health departments, and increasing data analysis and timely reporting of advances in our pursuit of advances in treating and preventing Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias.

 This legislation creates Public Health Centers of Excellence to increase education to public health officials, health care professionals, and the public on Alzheimer’s, brain health, and health disparities. These Centers will also provide technical assistance to public health departments across the country in implementing effective Alzheimer’s interventions. Interventions such as these will focus on priorities such as increasing early detection and diagnosis, reducing risk, preventing avoidable hospitalizations, reducing health disparities, supporting the needs of caregivers, and supporting care planning for people living with the disease. Furthermore, these Centers will expand innovative public private partnerships that focus on addressing cognitive impairment and health disparities.

 As NARFE members, we express our appreciation to our legislators in their support of the 2021 Alzheimer’s Act.

Make the effort to effort to contact our legislators.

  Senator McConnell’s Lexington office is at 771 Corporate Dr., Suite 108, 40503 (859) 223-8286.

Senator Paul’s office is at 1029 State St., Bowling Green, KY. 42101, (270) 782- 8303.

Congressman Andy Barr can be reached M-F at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY. 40509, (859) 219-1366.

 

LEGISLATIVE REPORT- FEB. 2021

NARFE strongly urges all members to tell our Representative Andy Barr to cosponsor the NEW WEP-GPO Repeal Bill.  The Social Security Fairness Act of 2021, H.R. 82, would fully repeal both provisions, which, together, affect over 2.5 million NARFE members nationwide.  

NARFE Legislative Advocacy also supports the following bills recently introduced in Congress.

On January 21, legislation was reintroduced to increase federal pay and make progress toward closing the gap between public- and private-sector wages. The Federal Adjustment of Income Rates (FAIR) Act, H.R. 392 would provide a 3.2 percent average federal pay raise for 2022, a 2.2 percent across-the-board increase and an average 1 percent locality pay adjustment.

According to the Federal Salary Council, as of October 2020, federal employees make 23 percent less on average than their private-sector counterparts. In addition to bringing federal pay raises to parity with private-sector wages, a pay increase helps the federal government recruit talented workers and retain its best and brightest employees.

The Equal COLA Act Legislation was also introduced to provide Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) retirees with full cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs), ensuring equal COLAs for all federal retirees. Under current law, FERS COLAs are capped at 2 percent when consumer prices increase between 2 and 3 percent, and are reduced by 1 percent when consumer prices increase by 3 percent or more. Without passage of the Equal Cola Act, FERs retirees will continue to see their annuities, earned through committed public service, decrease in value year after year, which is exactly what COLAs are intended to prevent.

On February 1, a bipartisan group of lawmakers reintroduced the USPS Fairness Act, H.R. 695 and S. 145This bill would end the requirement that the U.S. Postal Service fully pre-fund the future health insurance benefits of its retirees, a mandate that has cost the Postal Service billions of dollars and is the driving force behind the recent financial losses.  This legislation would help right the Postal Service’s increasingly dire financial condition and end negative cost-cutting strategies that hurt employees, retirees and customers. The bill also supports the agency’s mission to provide the nation with reliable, affordable and universal service. The USPS’s deteriorating financial condition is due largely to a 2006 law that required the agency to prefund its future retiree health care liabilities at 100 percent. No other federal agency or private-sector company fully prefunds its retiree health benefits. The prefunding mandate has been the prominent factor in the Postal Service’s increasingly dire financial situation, accounting for 90 percent of total losses and generating billions in debt.

Call toll free # 1-877-217-8234 or write our Congressional members ((House and Senate) with your position on these legislative issues.

Contact Congressman Barr M-F at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY 40509, (859) 219-1366.

Senator McConnell’s Lexington office is at 771 Corporate Dr., Suite 108, 40503 (859) 223-8286.

Senator Paul’s office is at 1029 State St., Bowling Green, KY 42101, (270) 782 8303.  

Paula Bayer

LEGISLATIVE REPORT - Jan. 2021

 NARFE strongly urges all members to tell our Representative Andy Barr to cosponsor the NEW WEP-GPO Repeal Bill.  The Social Security Fairness Act of 2021, H.R. 82, would fully repeal both provisions, which, together, affect over 2.5 million NARFE members nationwide.  

 We continue to follow Executive Order #13957 initiated by President Trump and reported in the last Chapter 97 NARFE Newsletter.  The order instructed agencies to reclassify competitive service employees who serve in "confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating positions and that are not normally subject to change as a result of a Presidential transition” as members of the newly created Schedule F within the excepted service.  

 Federal Civil Service rules ensure federal employees are hired or fired based on their competence for the job, or lack thereof, and not their political connections, or lack thereof. The rules protect employees from being removed for choosing adherence to the Constitution, laws and professional standards over politically motivated actions or perceived allegiance to a political party.   

 A competitive, merit-based civil service provides continuity through changing administrations, preserves institutional knowledge and expertise within the federal government, and safeguards the rule of law.  Call and write our members of Congress today and ask them to block this order, which undermines the integrity of our civil service.  NARFE has requested members contact our Legislators to BLOCK the politicization of federal employment.

 The U.S. House of Representatives introduced the “Saving the Civil Service Act “(H.R. 8687) which aimed at nullifying President Donald Trump’s Executive Order 13957. The U.S. Senate introduced legislation aimed at rescinding President Donald Trump’s Executive Order 13957, retroactive to the day the president signed the order.  

 The National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that aims to block the implementation of President Donald Trump’s (R) Executive Order 13957.  “This case is a textbook example of the president acting contrary to Congress’s express and limited delegation of authority to the president,” argued the NTEU in the lawsuit. “Under the law, the president may only accept positions from the competitive service when ‘necessary’ and ‘as conditions of good administration warrant.’ The president’s sweeping order fails to make a meaningful showing that shifting large numbers of federal employees into a new excepted service category so that they can be fired more quickly and without cause is necessary or supported by good administration principles. This recent executive order will not only strip protections away from hard-working, dedicated civil servants, but it also recklessly creates chaos and dysfunction during the ongoing pandemic and presidential transition.  

Your opinion on these issues is very important. 

Contact Congressman Barr M-F at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY 40509, (859) 219-1366

Senator McConnell’s Lexington office is at 771 Corporate Dr., Suite 108, 40503 (859) 223-8286.

Senator Paul’s office is at 1029 State St., Bowling Green, KY 42101, (270) 782 8303.

LEGISLATIVE REPORT - December 2020

President Trump signed an Executive Order #13957 on October 21, 2020 which threatens the integrity of a professional, nonpartisan civil service. Congress will be asked to address this executive order.   The Executive Order does so by creating a broad new exception, Schedule F, to competitive civil service requirements that could convert upwards of hundreds of thousands of civil service positions into essentially political appointments. 

As you are aware, Civil Service rules ensure federal employees are hired or fired based on their competence for the job, or lack thereof, and not their political connections, or lack thereof. The rules protect employees from being removed for choosing adherence to the Constitution, laws and professional standards over politically motivated actions or perceived allegiance to a political party.

A competitive, merit-based civil service provides continuity through changing administrations, preserves institutional knowledge and expertise within the federal government, and safeguards the rule of law. 

Call and /or write our members of Congress today and ask them to block this order, which undermines the integrity of our civil service.

NARFE has sent out an urgent request for members to contact our Legislators to BLOCK the Politicization of Federal Jobs. 

Congressman Barr can be reached M-F at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY 40509, and (859) 219-1366.

Senator McConnell’s Lexington office is at 771 Corporate Dr., Suite 108, 40503 (859) 223-8286. Senator Paul’s office is at 1029 State St., Bowling Green, KY 42101, (270) 782-8303.

You can also call the NARFE Legislative toll-free

 number at 1-877-217-8234.

LEGISLATIVE REPORT - Nov 2020

The pared -down Senate Republican coronavirus relief bill failed in a bitterly disputed Senate vote which left both parties without a clear path for a new economic stimulus bill before the November elections. Other legislation has remained deadlock in committee over the past month. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and other senators indicated that the White House is treating government employees as “pawns”. The issue stems from an order issued by President Trump in August, which allows participating employers to cease withholding their worker’ payroll taxes until the end of the year. Private-sector employees may be able to opt out of the plan, but federal workers do not have a choice. This means that they will see a slight boost in their pay now, then they will owe more in 2021. Under this order, Federal employees will have taxes deferred. The forced nature of the President’s order drew frustration from several members of the Senate. They are asking the President to let federal workers and uniformed service members choose whether to defer their payroll tax obligations rather than forcing them to participate. The approach has drawn opposition from unions, one of which urged Congress this month to block the government from imposing Trump’s order as part of its next bill funding federal operations. Take the time to let our legislators know your position on these legislative issues. This pending legislation needs our attention and advocacy efforts with those representing us in Washington. NARFE encourages all members to review the weekly legislative message available for telephone callers at (703-838-7780 and toll-free at 1-877-217-8234) and posted on the NARFE website, www.narfe.org.

Continue to contact our Congressional representatives (Senate and House) with your position on Legislative issues. Take the time to contact Congressman Andy Barr about your Corporate Dr., Suite 108, 40503 (859) 223-8286. Senator Paul’s office is at 1029 State St., Bowling Green, KY 42101, (270) 782-8303position on WEP-GPO pending legislation to appeal. He can be reached at 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY 40590, (859)219-1366 M-F. Senator McConnel’s Lexington office is at 771.

Tom Miller, Legislative Chair 

LEGISLATIVE REPORT- Oct. 2020

The pared -down Senate Republican coronavirus relief bill failed in a bitterly disputed Senate vote which left both parties without a clear path for a new economic stimulus bill before the November elections. Other legislation has remained deadlock in committee over the past month. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and other senators indicated that the White House is treating government employees as “pawns”. The issue stems from an order issued by President Trump in August, which allows participating employers to cease withholding their worker’ payroll taxes until the end of the year. Private-sector employees may be able to opt out of the plan, but federal workers do not have a choice. This means that they will see a slight boost in their pay now, then they will owe more in 2021. Under this order, Federal employees will have taxes deferred. The forced nature of the President’s order drew frustration from several members of the Senate. They are asking the President to let federal workers and uniformed service members choose whether to defer their payroll tax obligations rather than forcing them to participate. The approach has drawn opposition from unions, one of which urged Congress this month to block the government from imposing Trump’s order as part of its next bill funding federal operations. Take the time to let our legislators know your position on these legislative issues. This pending legislation needs our attention and advocacy efforts with those representing us in Washington. NARFE encourages all members to review the weekly legislative message available for telephone callers at (703-838-7780 and toll-free at 1-877-217-8234) and posted on the NARFE website, www.narfe.org.

Continue to contact our Congressional representatives (Senate and House) with your position on Legislative issues. Take the time to contact Congressman Andy Barr about your Corporate Dr., Suite 108, 40503 (859) 223-8286.   Senator Paul’s office is at 1029 State St., Bowling Green, KY 42101, (270) 782-8303position on WEP-GPO pending legislation to appeal. He can be reached at 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY 40590, (859)219-1366 M-F. Senator McConnel’s Lexington office is at 771.     

Tom Miller, Legislative Chair

 

NARFE LEGISLATIVE REPORT - Sept 2020

There have been a number of recent legislative accomplishments reflecting NARFE’s dedication to defending the interest of federal employees and retirees that resulted favorably this session. In its FY20 budget proposal, the administration called for more than $177 billion in cuts to earned retirement benefits for current and former federal employees. Furthermore the administration initially proposed freezing federal pay rates for calendar year 2020.

 

NARFE’s advocacy, monitoring and pressure realized a change in the administration’s position for FY2020 by supporting a 2.6 percent across- the- board increase. As part of a year-end FY2020 funding bill, Congress passed and the President signed into law a 3.1 percent average pay raise which is a 2.6 percent across-the-board increase and a 0.5 percent average increase in locality rates for federal employees in this calendar year 2020.

 

Make your voices heard and continue to keep in touch with our Congressional representatives with your position on all legislative matters.

NARFE encourages all members to review the weekly legislative message available for telephone callers (703-

 

838-7780 and toll-free at 1-877-217-8234) and posted on the NARFEwebsite,www.narfe.org .

  

  Congressman Barr can be reached M-F at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY 40509, and (859) 219-1366.  Senator McConnell’s Lexington office is at 771 Corporate Dr., Suite 108, 40503 (859) 223-8286.   Senator Paul’s office is at 1029 State St., Bowling Green, KY 42101, (270) 782-8303.     

Tom Miller, Legislative Chair

 

  SEE ARCHIVED NEWS FROM THE FEDERAL SCENE for previous reports....

 NARFE encourages all members to review the weekly legislative message available for telephone callers (703-838-7780 and toll-free at 1-877-217-8234) and posted on the NARFE website, www.narfe.org.

Members are encouraged to use the NARFE Legislative Action Center to quickly and easily send letters to members of Congress on a variety of NARFE related issues.   Contact Senators McConnell and Paul and Congressman Andy Barr today.  You can also reach  Congressman Barr at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY 40509, phone: 859-219-1366, hours: M-F 9-5 p.m.  Make that call!

                                 Tom Miller, Legislative Chair

 

 

NARFE LEGISLATIVE REPORT Aug. 2020

 

There have been a number of recent legislative accomplishments reflecting NARFE’s dedication to defending the interest of federal employees and retirees that resulted favorably this session. In its FY20 budget proposal, the administration called for more than $177 billion in cuts to earned retirement benefits for current and former federal employees. Furthermore the administration initially proposed freezing federal pay rates for calendar year 2020.

 

 

 

NARFE’s advocacy, monitoring and pressure realized a change in the administration’s position for FY2020 by supporting a 2.6 percent across- the- board increase. As part of a year-end FY2020 funding bill, Congress passed and the President signed into law a 3.1 percent average pay raise which is a 2.6 percent across-the-board increase and a 0.5 percent average increase in locality rates for federal employees in this calendar year 2020.

 

 

 

Make your voices heard and continue to keep in touch with our Congressional representatives with your position on all legislative matters.

 

NARFE encourages all members to review the weekly legislative message available for telephone callers (703-

 

 

 

838-7780 and toll-free at 1-877-217-8234) and posted on the NARFEwebsite,www.narfe.org .

 

    Congressman Barr can be reached M-F at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY 40509, and (859) 219-1366.  Senator McConnell’s Lexington office is at 771 Corporate Dr., Suite 108, 40503 (859) 223-8286.   Senator Paul’s office is at 1029 State St., Bowling Green, KY 42101, (270) 782-8303.     

 

Tom Miller, Legislative Chair

 

 

NARFE LEGISLATIVE REPORT June 2020

 

NARFE has lobbied our legislators on pending legislation related to the WEP-GPO. Do you receive

 

a pension from work that was not covered by Social Security? If you were exempt from Social Security during your federal career and you currently, or will, receive a Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) retirement benefit, then you will need to be aware of the affect that Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) will have on potential claims for Social Security Benefits. The WEP and GPO have serious consequences that reduce or eliminate benefits for federal retirees who expect to receive Social Security benefits. Provisions of this pending legislation is summarized for our membership on the NARFE website and is available at https://www.narfe.org/pdf/WEP%20%20GPO%20April%202016.pdf.

 

 The pending legislation needs our attention and advocacy efforts with those representing us in Washington DC.

 

NARFE encourages all members to review the weekly legislative message available for telephone callers (703-838-7780 and toll-free at 1-877-217-8234) and posted on the NARFE website,www.narfe.org .  Continue to contact our Congressional representatives with your position on these and other legislative issues.  Congressman Barr can be reached M-F at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY 40509, and (859) 219-1366.  Senator McConnell’s Lexington office is at 771 Corporate Dr., Suite 108, 40503 (859) 223-8286.   Senator Paul’s office is at 1029 State St., Bowling Green, KY 42101, (270) 782-8303.     

 

Tom Miller, Legislative Chair

 

NARFE LEGISLATIVE REPORT April, 2020

     NARFE Legislative advocacy, encourages membership to  monitor activity related the U.S. Postal Service which is requesting access to $75 billion through a combination of cash, grants and loans to avoid a liquidity crisis this fall, the agency told Congress on Thursday. Postmaster General Megan Brennan told the House Oversight and Reform Committee that USPS would lose $13 billion in fiscal 2020 due to the economic downturn resulting from the novel coronavirus pandemic, and the agency would “run out of cash” before Sept. 30. The agency’s board of governors, whose five Senate-confirmed members were all appointed by President Trump, is asking Congress for a $25 billion cash injection to offset expected losses, a $25 billion grant to fund projects to modernize USPS and $25 billion in unrestricted borrowing authority. All told, the already cash-strapped Postal Service anticipates losing $54 billion over the next 10 years as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

 

     Congressman Andy Barr joined fellow representatives in introducing bipartisan legislation for Protecting Affordable Mortgages for Veterans Act of 2019.  The Protecting Affordable Mortgages for Veterans Act (HR 1988) preserves critical protections for veterans by maintaining strong refinancing reforms while also allowing these orphaned loans to be pooled in the secondary market.

 

     Senate Democrats are proposing $25,000 pandemic premium payments for federal employees working on the front lines of the coronavirus response. The recommendation is part of a broader package to provide lump sum payments to essential frontline employees working through the pandemic in both the public and private sectors. According to the proposal, essential frontline workers would receive $13 an hour in premium pay on top of their regular wages. These premium payments would cover all hours worked from the beginning of the public health crisis through the end of 2020. Pandemic payments would be capped at $25,000 for essential employees earning less than $200,000 a year. Essential employees earning $200,000 or more a year would receive a maximum pandemic payment of $5,000.

 

   NARFE encourages all members to review the weekly legislative message available for telephone callers (703-838-7780 and toll-free at 1-877-217-8234) and posted on the NARFE website,www.narfe.org .  Continue to contact our Congressional representatives with your position on these and other legislative issues.  Congressman Barr can be reached M-F at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY 40509, and (859) 219-1366.  Senator McConnell’s Lexington office is at 771 Corporate Dr., Suite 108, 40503 (859) 223-8286.   Senator Paul’s office is at 1029 State St., Bowling Green, KY 42101, (270) 782-8303.     

Tom Miller, Legislative Chair

LEGISLATIVE REPORT March 2020 

A legislative initiative to watch at this point involves  the House Republican Study Committee who  released a new blueprint to overhaul the civil service system.  High points of this legislation are an expedited system of firing federal employees, more merit-based bonuses and cuts to automatic pay raises. The Republican Study Committee and its 146 members praised the federal workforce overall, but said in its Government Efficiency, Accountability and Reform Task Force that civil servants' overall compensation is too high. Their efforts are to   bring some of the private sector practices into personnel management so that federal workers can be paid appropriately.  The report calls for a less centralized hiring process, empowering managers and subject matter experts over the Office of Personnel Management. It also suggested an easier process for firing poorly performing and misbehaving employees.
Lawmakers pointed specifically to the Modern Employees Reform, Improvement and Transformation (MERIT) Act, which was introduced last Congress which would empower agency heads to fire any employee, provided they give a notice in writing. Employees would have seven days to appeal a removal to the Merit Systems Protection Board, which would in turn have 30 days to make a final decision. If it did not rule in time, the agency’s decision would stand. Employees would not receive any pay or benefits in that interim period. The measure would provide agencies with the authority to rescind bonuses or other cash awards deemed to be “wrongly paid” to workers and extend the probationary period for new hires from one to two years.

 Lawmakers wish to  curb the use of performance improvement plans typically offered to employees as a precursor to discipline. The Republican Study Committee said step increases should be made smaller with the savings going to agency leaders to dole out as bonuses to top performers. OPM should change the definition for “fully successful” on performance ratings, it added, to make it a harder-to-reach standard. Citing research by the Congressional Budget Office, the lawmakers suggested the lowest-ranked federal employees are overpaid and those at the top are underpaid. To fix this, they said Congress should expand the General Schedule so top-ranked employees earn more and those at the bottom earn less. Recalling a common suggestion from Republican reform proposals, the plan envisioned a retirement system in which pensions are phased out in favor of a Thrift Savings Plan-only system, with larger agency contributions. The Republican Study Committee called for the government to pay a flat fee for workers’ premiums in the Federal Employees Health Benefits System, rather than a percentage of the overall cost, to give employees an incentive to select cheaper plans. 

NARFE encourages all members to review the weekly legislative message available for telephone callers (703-838-7780 and toll-free at 1-877-217-8234) and posted  on the NARFE website, www.narfe.org.  Continue to contact our Congressional representatives  with your position on these and other legislative issues.  Congressman Barr can be reached M-F at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY 40509, (859) 219-1366.  Senator McConnell’s Lexington office is at 771 Corporate Dr., Suite 108, 40503 (859) 223-8286.   Senator Paul’s office is at 1029 State St., Bowling Green, KY 42101, (270) 782-8303.                   

           Tom  Miller, Legislative Chair 

CONGRESSIONAL REPORT February 2020

Worth watching is a legislative initiative released by the Office of Personnel Management, on shifting to new regions for delivery of services to active and retired federal employees. The inclusion of these new regions is “subject to rule making,” meaning that OPM must act over the course of the next year to finalize the additions that they have discussed making. Furthermore requests to establish new locality pay areas or areas of application for locations not meeting the locality pay program’s current criteria should be supported by human capital data collected and compiled in a consistent manner. These data should be compiled by and coordinated among those agencies served.  

Congress needs to reform the locality pay program and federal employee compensation more broadly.  There is clearly a need for fundamental legislative reforms of the federal compensation system. We believe it is imperative to develop performance-sensitive compensation systems that make the government more citizen-centered, results-oriented, and market-based. Follow this by staying in touch with our Congressional representatives with your position on all legislative issues.  Congressman Barr can be reached M-F at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY 40509, (859) 219-1366.  Senator McConnell’s Lexington office is at 771 Corporate Dr., Suite 108, 40503 (859) 223-8286. Senator Paul’s office is at 1029 State St., Bowling Green, KY 42101, (270) 782-8303. 

Continue to contact our Congressional representatives (Senate and House) with your position on legislative issues.  Congressman Barr can be reached M-F at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY 40509, (859) 219-1366. Senator McConnell’s Lexington office is at 771 Corporate Dr., Suite 108, 40503, (859) 223-8286.   Senator Paul’s officeis at 1029 State St., Bowling Green, KY 42101, (270) 782-8303.                 Tom Miller, Legislative Chair

 

LEGISLATIVE REPORT Jan. 2020

 

The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is reminding participants that two-step authentication is becoming mandatory in December to log in to their TSP accounts. This is a security process in which members provide two different authentications to verify themselves to better protect both the user’s credentials and the resources the user can access. More detail on this issue were shown in last month’s issue.

 

Our advocacy efforts with those representing us in Washington DC. NARFE is encouraging all members to review the weekly legislative message available for telephone callers (703-838-7780 and toll-free at 1-877-217-8234) and posted on the NARFE website, www.narfe.org

 

Continue to contact our Congressional representatives (Senate and House) with your position on legislative issues.  Congressman Barr can be reached M-F at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY 40509, (859) 219-1366. Senator McConnell’s Lexington office is at 771 Corporate Dr., Suite 108, 40503, (859) 223-8286.   Senator Paul’s office is at 1029 State St., Bowling Green, KY 42101, (270) 782-8303.                                                                             Tom  Miller, Legislative Chair

 

LEGISLATIVE REPORT Dec. 2019

The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is reminding participants that two-step authentication is becoming mandatory in December to log in to their TSP accounts. This is a security process in which members provide two different authentications to verify themselves to better protect both the user’s credentials and the resources the user can access. More detail on this issue were shown in last month’s issue.

Our advocacy efforts with those representing us in Washington DC. NARFE is encouraging all members to review the weekly legislative message available for telephone callers (703-838-7780 and toll-free at 1-877-217-8234) and posted on the NARFE website, www.narfe.org

 Continue to contact our Congressional representatives (Senate and House) with your position on legislative issues.  Congressman Barr can be reached M-F at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY 40509, (859) 219-1366. Senator McConnell’s Lexington office is at 771 Corporate Dr., Suite 108, 40503, (859) 223-8286.   Senator Paul’s office is at 1029 State St., Bowling Green, KY 42101, (270) 782-8303.                                                                              Tom  Miller, Legislative Chair

 LEGISLATIVE REPORT Nov. 2019

Legislative advocacy comes in many forms.  All forms involve keeping in touch with our congressional legislators. Contact them with your position on any and all legislative issues.  Congressman Barr can be reached M-F at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY 40509, (859) 219-1366.  Senator McConnell’s Lexington office is at 771 Corporate Dr., Suite 108, 40503 (859) 223-8286.   Senator Paul’s office is at 1029 State St., Bowling Green, KY 42101, (270) 782-8303. 

 Often NARFE members will ask how to become a NARFE advocate.   Here are some suggestions that the NARFE Legislative Advocacy Center suggests.  Consider making a call or writing a letter to Senators McConnell and Paul and to our Congressman Andy Barr.  Use the NARFE BILL Tracker found each month in the NARFE magazine.

Whether you choose to call or write a letter, begin by identifying yourself, where you live and that you are a member of NARFE.  Include whether you a current or retired federal employee. Identify one of NARFE’s legislative priorities that affects you. Then indicate what action you want your legislator to take on the issue.  

 Take for example the offsets we face as Federal retirees to our pensions, better known as the GPO and WEP.  You might begin by saying or writing “I am a retired federal employee and I’m asking you to support legislation to repeal both the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP).”

 By checking the NARFE BILL TRACKER you see that there are currently both Senate and House bills supporting REPEAL of this provision.  H.R.141/S. 521 are the two bills that have been introduced and  currently have co-sponsors. They are being considered by the assigned committees in both the House and Senate. 

 What is significant is that none of our congressional representatives are cosponsoring or supporting this legislation. If you would like them to represent your position, ask them to do so.  Then ask them to kindly respond to your request in writing.  You are now a NARFE legislative advocate!

                                  Tom  Miller, Legislative Chair

   LEGISLATIVE REPORT Oct 2019

 Legislative advocacy comes in many forms.  All forms involve keeping in touch with our congressional legislators. Contact them with your position on any and  all legislative issues.  Congressman Barr can be reached M-F at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY 40509, (859) 219-1366.  Senator McConnell’s Lexington office is at 771 Corporate Dr., Suite 108, 40503 (859) 223-8286.   Senator Paul’s office is at 1029 State St., Bowling Green, KY 42101, (270) 782-8303. 

  Often NARFE members will ask how to become a NARFE advocate.   Here are some suggestions that the NARFE Legislative Advocacy Center suggests.  Consider making a call or writing a letter to Senators McConnell and Paul and to our Congressman Andy Barr.  Use the NARFE BILL Tracker found each month in the NARFE magazine.

  Whether you choose to call or write a letter, begin by identifying yourself, where you live and that you are a member of NARFE.  Include whether you a current or retired federal employee. Identify one of NARFE’s legislative priorities that affects you. Then indicate what action you want your legislator to take on the issue.  

Take for example the offsets we face as Federal retirees to our pensions, better known as the GPO and WEP.  You might begin by saying or writing “I am a retired federal employee and I’m asking you to support legislation to repeal both the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP).” 

By checking the NARFE BILL TRACKER you see that there are currently both Senate and House bills supporting REPEAL of this provision.  H.R.141/S. 521 are the two bills that have been introduced and  currently have co-sponsors. They are being considered by the assigned committees in both the House and Senate. 

  What is significant is that none of our congressional representatives are cosponsoring or supporting this legislation. If you would like them to represent your position, ask them to do so.  Then ask them to kindly respond to your request in writing.  You are now a NARFE legislative advocate!

                                   Tom  Miller, Legislative Chair

 LEGISLATIVE REPORT Sept 2019

  Congressional legislation titled The Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act, would provide much-needed relief to civil servants financially punished by the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP).  Individuals currently affected by WEP could lose up to $463 per month in earned benefits. The Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act seeks to replace the WEP with a formula that equalizes benefits for certain individuals with non-covered employment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The bill would provide WEP-affected individuals age 60 and older with a monthly rebate of $100 ($50 for surviving spouses). For WEP-affected individuals currently under age 20, the bill would change how the WEP is calculated. For those between age 21 and 59, the individual’s WEP penalty would be calculated either using the current formula or the new one created by the bill, whichever is more beneficial. NARFE’s ultimate goal is for Congress to fully repeal the WEP. Reform efforts such as the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act are a good first step toward correcting this discriminatory provision.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 NARFE National President Ken Thomas noted “By depriving dedicated public servants of full Social Security benefits that they rightfully earned through contributions to the Social Security system, the Windfall Elimination Provision is simply unfair. With low-earning households disproportionally affected by larger benefit reductions, the federal community experiences significant financial loss due to the WEP.  We commend Rep. Brady for tackling this important issue and seeking to right a longtime wrong for millions of Social Security beneficiaries.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 NARFE encourages all members to review the weekly legislative message available for telephone callers (703-838-7780 and toll-free at 1-877-217-8234) and posted on the NARFE website, www.narfe.org. Continue to contact our Congressional representatives with your position on legislative issues. Congressman Barr can be reached M-F at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY 40509, (859) 219-1366. Senator McConnell’s Lexington office is at 771 Corporate Dr., Suite 108, 40503 (859) 223-8286. Senator Paul’s office is at 1029 State St., Bowling Green, KY 42101, (270) 782-8303.                    Tom  Miller, Legislative Chair

 

 

 

LEGISLATIVE REPORT August 2019 

 

Recent legislative activity has encouraged NARFE to alert its membership to the Thrift Savings Plan Modernization Act. This legislation, which was passed by Congress, creates several significant changes for federal employees who participate in the TSP program. Thrift Savings Plan rules permit participants to elect one partial age-based withdrawal after they turn 59½ or one partial post-separation withdrawal after separation from federal employment. The Thrift Savings Plan Modernization Act would eliminate these restraints by allowing for unlimited age-based or post-separation withdrawals. Federal employees over age 59½ who are still working need to be aware of the fact this legislation will allow multiple age-based withdrawals. Thus federal employees who have left government can make multiple partial post-separation withdrawals. The legislation also allows election of quarterly or annual payments, and it permits periodic withdrawals to be changed at any point during the year.

 

In July the House of Representatives passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), H.R. 2500, with a provision providing a long-overdue benefit for federal employees – paid family leave. The provision would provide federal employees with 12 weeks of paid family leave for the birth, adoption or foster placement of a child; to recover from a serious health condition or to provide care to a family member suffering from a serious health condition; and for specific urgent needs born of a family member’s placement on covered active military duty. Currently, federal employees are only entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

 

 NARFE encourages all members to review the weekly legislative message available for telephone callers (703-838-7780 and toll-free at 1-877-217-8234) and posted on the NARFE website, www.narfe.org. Continue to contact our Congressional representatives with your position on legislative issues.  Congressman Barr can be reached M-F at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY 40509, (859) 219-1366. Senator McConnell’s Lexington office is at 771 Corporate Dr., Suite 108, 40503 (859) 223-8286. Senator Paul’s office is at 1029 State St., Bowling Green, KY 42101, (270) 782-8303.                    Tom  Miller, Legislative Chair

 

 

LEGISLATIVE REPORT JUNE 2019

NARFE President Ken Thomas is scheduled to testify before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations on May 21 on the proposed merger of the Office of Personnel Manage-ment (OPM) and General Services Administration (GSA) as part of the administration’s reorganization plan. Margaret Weichert, the acting director of OPM, is expected to propose legislation that would begin merging the two agencies. The proposed legislation would transfer OPM’s legal authorities to an unnamed office within the GSA and create an expanded policy-focused personnel office at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). NARFE has serious concerns with the proposal and will continue advocating for full congressional oversight before any merger is implemented. Take action now and urge your members of Congress to ensure that the reorganization plan undergoes thorough congressional oversight.

NARFE encourages all members to review the weekly legislative message available for telephone callers (703-838-7780 and toll-free at 1-877-217-8234) and posted on the NARFE website, www.narfe.org. Continue to contact our Congressional representatives with your position on legislative issues. Congressman Barr can be reached M-F at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY 40509, (859) 219-1366. Senator McConnell’s Lexington office is at 771 Corporate Dr., Suite 108, 40503 (859) 223-8286. Senator Paul’s office is at 1029 State St., Bowling Green, KY 42101, (270) 782-8303.                    Tom  Miller, Legislative Chair

LEGISLATIVE REPORT May 2019

NARFE successfully fought  a Federal 2019 pay freeze through strong advocacy for the 2019 fiscal year. President Trump's 2020 budget request  calls for a Federal pay freeze.  He continues the administration’s focus on the federal workforce by proposing a calendar year 2020 pay freeze. Unlike the extensive list of other proposed cuts to federal pay and benefits in the Trump budget, the president may choose to enact a pay freeze without prior congressional approval. Absent congressional action, a pay freeze would take effect on the first pay period of next year. This is why NARFE calls on each  of us to contact Congress and encourage our representatives in Congress to once again reject the president’s proposed pay freeze and enact a pay increase for 2020 through the appropriations process. A federal pay freeze during a time of private-sector wage growth and economic strength will only undermine the effectiveness and morale of a federal workforce.

 

NARFE encourages all members to review the weekly legislative message available for telephone callers (703-838-7780 and toll-free at 1-877-217-8234) and posted on the NARFE website, www.narfe.org. Continue to contact our Congressional representatives with your position on legislative issues. Congressman Barr can be reached M-F at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY 40509, (859) 219-1366. Senator McConnell’s Lexington office is at 771 Corporate Dr., Suite 108, 40503 (859) 223-8286. Senator Paul’s office is at 1029 State St., Bowling Green, KY 42101, (270) 782-8303.                    Tom  Miller, Legislative Chair

LEGISLATIVE REPORT APRIL 2019 

LEGISLATIVE REPORT

NARFE lobbied our legislators along with our network of determined advocates, and Congress responded by passing a modest 1.9 percent average federal pay raise, retroactive to the first pay period of 2019, as part of a fiscal year 2019 appropriations package. It took this Congressional action to annul President Trump's executive order which froze federal pay at current levels. Federal employees can expect to receive the increase sometime in late March or early April. Before pay raises can be realized, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) must publish new pay tables to update agency payroll systems, and President Trump needs to issue an executive order to officially implement this raise.

 

Meanwhile, the federal government hit its borrowing limit, but the Treasury Department is prepared to take its usual precautions to buy time for lawmakers to work out a deal to raise or suspend the debt ceiling. Congress last suspended the debt ceiling in 2018.

 

Both these situations need our attention and advocacy efforts with those representing us in Washington DC. NARFE encourages all members to review the weekly legislative message available for telephone callers (703-838-7780 and toll-free at 1-877-217-8234) and posted on the NARFE website, www.narfe.org. Continue to contact our Congressional representatives (Senate and House) with your position on legislative issues.

Congressman Barr can be reached at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY 40509, (859) 219-1366 M-F.                                 Tom  Miller, Legislative Chair

 

LEGISLATIVE REPORT MARCH 2019

In mid-February congress enacted and the president signed H.J.Res. 31, fiscal year 2019 (FY19) omnibus appropriations legislation to finally provide full-year funding for departments and agencies that otherwise would have shut down a second time this year. The omnibus spending package included the Homeland Security Department appropriations compromise as well as six other unfinished FY19 appropriations bills. The omnibus bill included language to override the president’s imposed pay freeze with a 1.9 percent average federal employee pay raise retroactive to the first pay period of 2019.    

Congressman Andy Barr was recently selected to serve on the House Committee on Veterans Affairs and advance policies that better protect and serve our nation’s veterans. Andy Barr represents NARFE members, which includes Kentucky’s veterans, and he has been very active in addressing the needs of our Kentucky veterans. His record shows that he provided the legislation which realized the renaming of the two Lexington VA Medical Centers, the VA Mission Act, and the Military SAVE Act. Shortly after taking office, Congressman Barr established the Sixth District Veterans Coalition to give veterans the opportunity to offer advice and input on their needs, including ideas for legislation, and to serve as a proactive partnership that works to address veterans’ issues on both the local and national level. We congratulate Congressman Barr on this appointment.

LATEST NEWS ABOUT THE LEGISLATIVE EVENTS  - Feb 2019

The partial government shutdown has created  complications for federal employee retirement at the busiest time of the year for those who process requests.  Whether a federal employee can retire during the shutdown in appropriations depends on a number of factors, including which agency they work for and if and when they informed their supervisors that they planned to leave public service.

  The Office  of Personnel Management’s Retirement Services division is funded by the federal government’s retirement trust fund, not appropriations, so it operates normally whether OPM is open or not. That means employees at agencies that have received their fiscal 2019 appropriations can elect to retire normally, and they won’t see any abnormal delays.

 NARFE encourages all members to review the weekly legislative message available for telephone callers (703-838-7780 and toll-free at 1-877-217-8234 and posted on the NARFE website, www.narfe.org.  Continue to contact our Congressional representatives (Senate and House) with your position on legislative issues related to Federal employees and retirees.                                  Tom  Miller, Legislative Chair

 

LATEST NEWS ABOUT THE LEGISLATIVE EVENTS JAN 2019

  Congress has passed a continuing resolution (CR) to avoid a partial government shutdown, but legislators and the president have not come to an agreement at this time.  With that, the 2019 federal employee pay raise remains unresolved. If Congress fails to pass a federal pay raise, the president’s proposed pay freeze will unfairly target Feds while the economy prospers and private-sector wages continue to flourish. A pay raise will not be achievable without your continued advocacy, so please  take the time to contact our representatives in Congress and urge them to support a modest federal pay increase through the appropriations process.

 NARFE encourages all members to review the weekly legislative message available for telephone callers (703-838-7780 and toll-free at 1-877-217-8234 and posted on the NARFE website, www.narfe.org.  Continue to contact our Congressional representatives (Senate and House) with your position on legislative issues related to Federal employees and retirees. Congressman Barr can be reached at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY 40509, (859) 219-1366 M-F 9-5 p.m.

                           Tom  Miller, Legislative Chair

LATEST NEWS ABOUT THE LEGISLATIVE EVENTS DEC 2018

Now that the 2018 congressional elections are past and the control of the House of Representatives has shifted to the Democrats, we should continue to work toward our legislative goals:  Protect benefits of federal employees and retirees, rescind or modify the WEP and GPA that severely restrict Social Security benefits to CSRS retirees, and prevent Postal retirees from being forced to subscribe to Medicare when they chose not to.

  We congratulate Congressman Andy Barr (District 6) on his election victory, and we expect to work with him on these issues.  Remember that any bills introduced in Congress during the current Congress and not passed will have to be reintroduced in the next Congress.

   NARFE encourages all members to review the weekly legislative message available for telephone callers at  (703) 838-7780 or toll free at (877) 217-8234 and posted on the NARFE web site www.narfe.org.  Continue to contact our congressional representatives (Senate and House) with your position on legislative issues.                                                                                        

 Congressman Barr can be reached at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY 40509, (859) 219-1366 M-F 9-5 p.m. 

  Congress has passed a continuing resolution (CR) to avoid a partial government shutdown, but legislators and the president have not come to an agreement at this time.  With that, the 2019 federal employee pay raise remains unresolved. If Congress fails to pass a federal pay raise, the president’s proposed pay freeze will unfairly target Feds while the economy prospers and private-sector wages continue to flourish. A pay raise will not be achievable without your continued advocacy, so please  take the time to contact our representatives in Congress and urge them to support a modest federal pay increase through the appropriations process.

NARFE encourages all members to review the weekly legislative message available for telephone callers (703-838-7780 and toll-free at 1-877-217-8234 and posted on the NARFE website, www.narfe.org.  Continue to contact our Congressional representatives (Senate and House) with your position on legislative issues related to Federal employees and retirees. Congressman Barr can be reached at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY 40509, (859) 219-1366 M-F 9-5 p.m.

                         Tom  Miller, Legislative Chair

 Alexandria, Va. (October 3, 2018) Today, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) released its Voting Scorecard of the 115th Congress, a guide that details how representatives and senators voted in 2017 and 2018 (to date) on legislation pertaining to the pay and earned federal benefits of current and retired federal employees.


“In order for members of the federal community to make educated decisions during the upcoming midterm elections, it’s imperative that they know how their respective members of Congress voted on legislation affecting them and their families. The NARFE 115th Congress Scorecard does precisely that and is all the more important this year due to the extremely divisive political environment, which has included an abundance of misinformation campaigns targeting both incumbents and new candidates,” said NARFE President Richard G. Thissen.
 Of the 1,079 House and 564 Senate roll-call votes cast between January 3, 2017 and August 1, 2018, NARFE identified eight House and six Senate votes in which federal employee and retiree interests were at stake.

Regarding the eight House votes:
•    Three were on budget resolutions that either targeted federal retirement and health benefits or expressed opposition to such cuts.
•    Two were on government funding measures to prevent or end a government shutdown.
•    Two were on the application or re-adoption of the Holman Rule, which allows House members to single out individuals or groups of federal employees for political reasons.
•    One was on a bipartisan budget deal to lift sequestration caps on spending levels without targeting employees for cost offsets.

Regarding the six Senate votes:
•    Two were on budget resolution amendments that targeted federal retirement or health benefits.
•    Two were on government funding measures to prevent or end a government shutdown.
•    One was on a bipartisan budget deal that lifted sequestration caps on spending levels without federal pay or benefits used as cost offsets.
•    One was on a bill that included a 1.9 percent pay raise for federal employees.

Each vote is significant due to the federal community’s strong presence nationwide, represented in every congressional district. According to data released by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) last year, the total number of federal employees and annuitants equaled 5,085,848 of which 1,816,808 are federal employees and 631,888 are United States Postal Service (USPS) employees. The number of federal employee annuitants increased to 2,113,415, while the number of survivor annuitants decreased to 523,737.
 
The 115th Congress Scorecard appears in the October 2018 issue of NARFE Magazine. While its intent is to inform voters and empower federal employees to be their own advocates, it does not serve as an endorsement for any political candidate. Media may request complementary copies of the print edition.# # # 

The National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE), one of America’s oldest and largest associations, was founded in 1921 with the mission of protecting the earned rights and benefits of America’s active and retired federal workers. The largest federal employee/retiree organization, NARFE represents the interests of 5 million current and future federal annuitants, spouses and survivors.

Jill Talley
NARFE Deputy Director, Public Relations
jtalley@narfe.org
(703)838-7760                                            

 NARFE LEGISLATIVE REPORT NOV. 2018

 On October 5, Dr. Jeff Pon abruptly resigned from his Senate-confirmed post as Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The same day, the White House appointed Margaret Weichert to the position of Acting Director of OPM. In a statement, the White House claimed Weichert will take on the new OPM responsibilities in addition to her current duties as the Deputy Director for Management with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). In this position, Weichert is involved in the administration’s efforts to reshape the civil service and transform the role of OPM.  
Pon held the position of OPM Director for roughly seven months. During that time, he played a key role in advancing many of the Trump administration’s proposals related to the civil service, and was working to unveil a major civil service reform package this month. Pon also advocated for many of President Trump’s fiscal year 2019 (FY19) budget proposals that would reduce federal earned pay and benefits.

   NARFE encourages all members to review the weekly legislative message available for telephone callers at  (703) 838-7780 or toll free at (877) 217-8234 and posted on the NARFE web site www.narfe.org.  Continue to contact our congressional representatives (Senate and House) with your position on legislative issues.                                                                                      Congressman Andy Barr can be reached at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY 40509, (859) 219-1366 M-F 9-5 p.m.                                 Tom Miller, Legislative Chair                                                                                                                

NARFE LEGISLATIVE REPORT OCT. 2018

LEGISLATIVE REPORT

During August, NARFE’s Grassroots Advocacy Month, more than 100 advocacy activities were reported via the Congressional Meeting or Event Feedback Form by NARFE members! Additionally, NARFE members sent over 31,000 messages to Congress urging legislators to support NARFE's "Big 3" legislative priorities.

  NARFE members answered the Advocacy Department’s call to action when threats were made to the Senate-approved 1.9 percent pay raise for civilian federal employees. Of the 31,000 messages sent in August, nearly 17,000 urged legislators to support a modest pay raise for civilian federal employees in 2019.

  Even though August is over, the work doesn’t stop. To be successful at combating a federal pay freeze, NARFE members need to continue contacting their legislators and ask them to support a pay raise for civilian federal employees. The easiest way to connect with your legislators is to use NARFE's Legislative Action Center to send a message, call or tweet your legislators.  

  NARFE encourages all members to review the weekly legislative message available for telephone callers at  (703) 838-7780 or toll free at (877) 217-8234 and posted on the NARFE web site www.narfe.org.  Continue to contact our congressional representatives (Senate and House) with your position on legislative issues. 

 Congressman Andy Barr can be reached at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY 40509, (859) 219-1366 M-F 9-5 p.m.      Tom Miller, Legislative Chair                                                                                 

 NARFE LEGISLATIVE REPORT Sept 2018

During the congressional recess in August, Grassroots Advocacy Month asks all members to advocate for NARFE legislation.  That means taking the time to contact our legislators, detailing three talking points:  postal reform, the proposed 2019 pay freeze, and federal benefits cuts.

 Modify Postal Reform Legislation.  H.R. 756/H.R. 6076 and S. 2629 would require all current and future postal retirees to enroll in Medicare and pay additional premiums for that coverage or forfeit their national health coverage benefits.  NARFE suggests a simple alternative to preserve choice—maintain the automatic enrollment provisions of the bill for current postal retirees into Medicare Part B, but provide them with a short op-out window of 60 or 90 days.  This alternative allows the USPS to retain the savings associated with those who chose not to opt out, but also maintains the choice of postal retirees.

 Support a Modest Pay Increase for Federal Employees in 2019.  President Trump’s FY19 budget proposes a federal pay freeze for 2019.  Meanwhile the Senate passed a 1.9 percent increase in federal pay, but the House did not.  Federal employees endured a pay freeze from 2011-2013.  Since then they have received small pay increases but had increased retirement contributions without increased benefits.  With private sector wages increasing and decreasing unemployment, a pay freeze is a direct attack on employee benefits.

 Prevent Federal Benefits Cuts.  The President’s FY19 budget proposes cuts that would cost federal employees and retirees hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of their careers and retirement and reneges on the commitments made to federal workers and retirees, who were promised benefits as rewards for careers in the federal government.  The budget proposes to eliminate or reduce cost of living adjustments (COLAs) for current and future retirees.  This and other proposed takeaways diminish the value of federal annuities, threaten the financial security of those just years away from retiring, and generally reduce the quality of life of our nation’s employees and retirees.

 NARFE encourages all members to review the weekly legislative message available for telephone callers at  (703) 838-7780 or toll free at (877) 217-8234 and posted on the NARFE web site www.narfe.org.  Continue to contact our congressional representatives (Senate and House) with your position on legislative issues.               Congressman Andy Barr can be reached at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY 40509, (859) 219-1366 M-F 9-5 p.m.                                         Tom Miller, Legislative Chair                                            

 

 NARFE LEGISLATIVE REPORT August 2018

LEGISLATIVE REPORT

 Congress is promising key legislation this month.  The NARFE Legislative Office reports that there is a deep split between parties on the Trump administration’s budgetary and management plans for the federal workforce.  NARFE notes how difficult it could be to achieve agreement on any proposals requiring approval of Congress, with both parties focusing on portions of special interest to them.

  At an Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing whose stated topic was the federal “workforce for the 21st century,” Democrats instead pressed senior administration officials about their announced budgetary proposals to increase employee contributions toward retirement and to reduce the value of retirement benefits in several ways. The administration recently sent proposed legislative language to carry out those changes, projecting a cost to employees and retirees of more than $143 billion over 10 years. Democrats held that amount up in contrast to the request for $1 billion to be used to reward top performers and pay recruitment and retention incentives in hard-to-fill positions.

 OPM director Jeff Pon and OMB deputy director for management Margaret Weichert supported the budgetary proposals as part of the administration’s overall spending priorities and cited a 2017 CBO report finding federal benefits, especially retirement, are overall superior to the private sectors. They said the annual federal employee survey shows strong interest in strengthening the link between pay and performance and that employees in general are satisfied with their salaries.

 On policy matters, several Democrats focused on the potential for job cuts through agency reorganizations and greater automation, two elements of the President’s Management Agenda. Other areas of interest to them included unfilled positions at the FLRA, the agency that enforces union rights, and the VA’s use of enhanced disciplinary authority—widely considered a model for wider application as part of any overhaul of civil service policies—disproportionately against lower-level employees. Several Republicans meanwhile showed that their highest priorities include holding employees accountable for poor performance or misconduct and reducing spending on “official time,” on-the-clock time that can be used for certain union duties. Pon said that OPM should have more authority over labor-management contracts and that current law makes it unnecessarily difficult for agencies to “manage people out.” He said that employee due process rights could still be protected in a shortened process.

 NARFE encourages all members to review the weekly legislative message available for telephone callers (703-838-7780 and toll-free at 1-877-217-8234 and posted on the NARFE website, www.narfe.org.  Continue to contact our Congressional representatives with your position on legislative issues.  Congressman Andy Barr can be reached at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY 40509, (859) 219-1366 M-F 9-5 p.m.  Tom Miller, Legislative Chair    

 

 

  NARFE LEGISLATIVE REPORT June 2018

WITH FRIENDS LIKE THIS….

 

 On May 4, Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Jeff Pon sent a letter to Congress in support of four proposals that would significantly cut benefits for federal employees and retirees and their survivors.

    All of the proposals included in Pon’s letter are reiterations of President Trump’s fiscal year 2019 (FY19) budget proposal that was released in February. Specifically, Pon urged Congress to eliminate the FERS Annuity Supplement, which is vitally important for Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) retirees’ financial security, especially special category employees such as law enforcement officers who are often mandated to retire early. Pon also urged Congress to change the way federal annuities are calculated by basing pensions on the average of the highest five years of pay instead of highest three years. He further proposed increasing FERS employee contributions to their annuities. Under this proposal, employees would see an increase of one percent per year until they reach 7.25 percent of basic pay, with no corresponding increase in benefits, essentially a pay cut.
    NARFE was quick to react to the resurgence of these damaging proposals. “In exchange for years of hard work over long careers, our government made a commitment to middle class federal and postal workers that they would receive federal pensions in retirement. Those pensions are not gifts,” said NARFE President Richard G. Thissen. “Diminishing their value in any way for those who have already earned them – including by eliminating or reducing COLAs, altering how they are calculated, or eliminating an entire element of the pension – fails to honor the basic commitments made to our public servants.”   

 

     Contact our Senators and Congressman Andy Barr with your views on this and other legislative issues.  Mr. Barr can be reached at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY 40509, (859) 219-1366 M-F 9-5 p.m.

 

NARFE LEGISLATIVE REPORT MAY 2018

NARFE members need to be aware of the Postal Reform Act of 2018 (S. 2629) which would require current USPS retirees to enroll in Medicare Part B in order to continue receiving their current health insurance coverage through the FEHB Program, ultimately raising their overall health insurance premiums an additional $1,600 or more per year, despite the fact that they previously declined this coverage. The goal of this requirement is to decrease USPS health insurance costs by shifting primary responsibility for retiree health care costs from USPS to Medicare. This shift in responsibility would cost taxpayers $10.7 billion over 10 years.  NARFE opposes the bill because it unfairly burdens tens of thousands of postal retirees and their survivors by changing the bargain regarding their health benefits after retirement, removing choice with regard to their health care and setting a dangerous precedent for all federal employees and retirees. NARFE encourages members to act now to prevent this legislation from becoming law.

The Federal Retirement Fairness Act, H.R. 5389 would allow federal employees who started their careers in temporary positions before transitioning into permanent roles to retroactively contribute toward their retirement for the years they were in temporary positons. Under this legislation, affected federal employees must cover the government’s contribution to their retirement for the years spent in a temporary position in order to minimize the impact on the federal budget. Kilmer believes this aspect of the bill will make its passage more likely. If passed, this bill would allow affected employees to receive full benefits for the years they worked in service to our nation. Contact our legislators including Congressman Andy Barr with your views on this and other legislative issues at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY 40509, phone: 859-219-1366, hours: M-F 9-5 p.m.                                                                                                                                                                                                          Tom Miller, Legislative Chair

 

NARFE LEGISLATIVE REPORT April 2018

 

The House of Representatives sent a handful of bills to the Senate over the past couple of months that have direct implications for the federal workforce. From reauthorization and reorganizations of the Homeland Security Department to whistleblower protections, security clearances and burrowing, these bills are worth keeping an eye on as the Senate debates, amends and votes on them, especially since any of them could wind
up hitching a ride with any potential budget omnibus this month.

 

Whistleblower Protection Extension Act of 2017 bill would reauthorize and extend the whistleblower protection program initially outlined in the Inspector General Act of 1978, and repeal the sunset provision of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012 retroactively to Nov. 26, 2017.  

 

NARFE regularly testifies before Congress and submits written testimony on issues affecting the pay and benefits of the federal community.  Congressional testimony is an important way NARFE ensures the voices of federal employees and retirees are heard in Congress. And individual members need to get involved and make your voices heard.  Use the NARFE Legislative (now Advocacy) Action Center to easily send letters to our Senators and representative or use the NARFE toll free 1-800-220-0044.  Check the weekly legislative message which is emailed to NARFE members, posted on NARFE website www.narfe.org, and available to NARFE members via telephone (703-838-7780 and toll-free at 1-877-217-8234).  Keep in touch with our Congressman Andy Barr with your views on this and other legislative issues at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY 40509, phone: 859-219-1366, hours: M-F 9-5 p.m.  Make that call!                                        Tom Miller, Legislative Chair

 

NARFE LEGISLATIVE REPORT March 2018

Congress had a busy first quarter of 2018 with legislators spending most of their time negotiating on immigration and border security issues and passing a slew of short-term continuing resolutions, leaving them little time to consider anything else.  In the next few weeks, members of Congress will be holding budgetary hearings for fiscal year 2019.

On February 12 President Trump released his fiscal year 2019 budget request to Congress.   He proposed: (1) Eliminating colas for current and future FERS retirees, (2) Reducing colas for CSRS retirees by 0.5 % each year, (3) Increase FERS employee contributions to their annuities by 1% per year for the next 6 years, (4) Eliminate the FERS Annuity Supplement for new retirees, (5) Reducing the rate of return on the TSP G fund, (6) Basing federal pensions for new retirees on highest 5 years of salary rather than highest 3, (7) Reduction of total paid time off by combining sick and annual leave into one pool, and (8) Reducing working and retirement age benefits for federal workers disabled through their service.  The 2019 budget proposal would amount to roughly $152.5 billion in cuts to earned federal benefits.

NARFE regularly testifies before Congress and submits written testimony on issues affecting the pay and benefits of the federal community.  Congressional testimony is an important way NARFE ensures the voices of federal employees and retirees are heard in Congress. And individual members needs to get involved and make your voices heard.  Use the NARFE Legislative (now Advocacy) Action Center to easily send letters to our Senators and representative or use the NARFE toll free 1-800-220-0044.  Check the weekly legislative message which is emailed to NARFE members, posted on NARFE website www.narfe.org, and available to NARFE members via telephone (703-838-7780 and toll-free at 1-877-217-8234).  Keep in touch with our Congressman Andy Barr with your views on this and other legislative issues at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY 40509, phone: 859-219-1366, hours: M-F 9-5 p.m.  Make that call!                               Tom Miller, Legislative Chair

NARFE LEGISLATIVE REPORT - February 2018

 Federal employees and retirees dodged several bullets in 2017 including (1) the high-three did not become the high-five, (2) Retirees continue to receive cost of living Adjustments, and  (3) Retirement contributions remain unchanged.  And because of NARFE efforts Retirees received a 2% COLA based on 2017 prices and The TSP withdrawal options will become more flexible in the coming years.

 In looking forward to 2018, NARFE members need to pay close attention to (1) TSP distributions should be carefully considered (2) Medicare premiums continue to rise and affect more retirees thanks to new IRMAA thresholds (3) Although open season is over, employees and retirees can become more educated on health plan choices to prepare for open season 2018.  Finally we need to pay attention to the issue of any new earnings limits, maximum taxable income, and COLA for Social Security

 In speaking to a NARFE member recently, they mentioned they did not know if their message to congressmen got through to them.   When you send your message online, you will receive a confirmation from NARFE that reads “Thank you for sending a message urging your legislators to oppose cuts to the federal community. We appreciate your advocacy!  You have communicated with the following: Senator Mitch McConnell Jr. Senator Rand Paul and Representative Andy Barr.”  Contact them today.  It is easy!

 NARFE encourages all members to review the weekly legislative message available for telephone callers (703-838-7780 and toll-free at 1-877-217-8234) and posted on the NARFE website, www.narfe.org.

 Members are encouraged to use the NARFE Legislative Action Center to quickly and easily send letters to members of Congress on a variety of NARFE related issues.   Contact Senators McConnell and Paul and Congressman Andy Barr today.  You can also reach  Congressman Barr at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY 40509, phone: 859-219-1366, hours: M-F 9-5 p.m.  Make that call!

                               Tom Miller, Legislative Chair

 NARFE LEGISLATIVE REPORT - Jan 2018

    Congress is promising key legislation this month.  The NARFE Legislative Office reports that Federal workers who are 50 and older dodged a big bullet last week in the pending tax bill worked up by the Senate. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). It allows federal Thrift Savings Plan participants past age 50 to put in more money (this year up to $6,000) in addition to the $18,000 allowed to other TSP members.  Eliminating the additional catch-up contributions would have been a major financial blow in the form of higher taxes for current participants. It would also have meant much smaller TSP accounts when individuals do retire. While the House has passed its Tax reform bill, the Senate continues with some challenges. NARFE encourages all members to review the weekly legislative message available for telephone callers (703-838-7780 and toll-free at 1-877-217-8234 and posted on the NARFE website, www.narfe.org.  Continue to contact our Congressional representatives (Senate and House) with your position on legislative issues.Members are encouraged to use the NARFE Legislative Action Center to quickly and easily send letters to members of Congress on a variety of NARFE related issues.  

    Contact Senators McConnell and Paul and Congressman Andy Barr today.  You can also reach  Congressman Barr at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY 40509, phone: 859-219-1366, hours: M-F 9-5 p.m.  Make that call!                                 Tom Miller, Legislative Chair

 NARFE LEGISLATIVE REPORT - Dec 2017 

NARFE members are encouraged to use the NARFE Legislative Action Center to quickly and easily send letters to members of Congress on a variety of NARFE related issues.   Contact Senators McConnell and Paul and Congressman Andy Barr today.  Mailing address for Andy Barr is:  P.O. Box 2059, Lexington, KY 40588  Email: info@andybarrforcongress.com   Phone (859) 806-8683.  You can also reach  Congressman Barr at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY 40509, phone: 859-219-1366, hours: M-F 9-5 p.m.  Make that call!                                     Tom Miller, Legislative Chair

 

NARFE LEGISLATIVE REPORT-Oct. 2017

The House passed a fiscal year 2018 $1.2 trillion appropriations package by a vote of 211-198, completing its role in the annual appropriations process. Relevant to the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to civil service annuities for 2018, the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) increased 0.35 percent in August 2017. The new CPI-W figure for August 2017 was 239.448, 1.87 percent higher than the average CPI-W for the third quarter of 2016 (235.057), which will be used to determine the 2018 COLA.   Members have asked me when this COLA will be announced.  That will happen on October 13, 2017 and will be effective with your January 2018 annuity check. Those federal retirees receiving insurance benefits under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) received a 2.0 percent COLA in March 2017. Looking ahead to the 2018 COLA for FECA benefits, the August 2017 CPI-W figure (239.448) is 1.72 percent higher than the December 2016 CPI-W figure (235.390). The Senate Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management held its second hearing on the ongoing government-wide reorganization effort. The hearing focused on the failures and successes of past reorganization efforts. Witnesses from organizations outside the federal government testified before subcommittee members.  NARFE members are encouraged to use the NARFE Legislative Action Center to quickly and easily send letters to members of Congress on a variety of NARFE related issues.   Contact Senators McConnell and Paul and Congressman Andy Barr today.   Mailing Address for Andy Barr is : P.O. Box 2059, Lexington, KY 40588  Email: info@andybarrforcongress.com   Phone (859) 806-8683.  You can also reach  Congressman Barr at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY 40509, phone: 859-219-1366, hours: M-F 9-5 p.m.  Make that call!

 

NARFE LEGISLATIVE REPORT SEPT. 2017

 

It is time to contact our Kentucky congressional leaders to urge them to follow NARFE's position on opposing some of the suggestions that are being considered regarding Federal employees  health insurance. The Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) for federal workers, retirees and family members is a separate program that has existed for decades, long before enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare.

 

With a mix of national and regional plans that must meet certain standards, the FEHBP in some ways served as the model for the insurance-policy exchanges created under the ACA. The FEHBP, for example, barred participating health insurance companies from denying coverage because of preexisting conditions long before the ACA made that a national policy.

 

 One impact the ACA did have on the FEHBP was to allow coverage of children until they turn 26, four years beyond the prior cutoff.  That is one part of the ACA that has not been on the table for repeal in the efforts so far, and probably won’t be if the effort is revived.

 

Note that one legislative option that was raised recently would allow private-sector workers to buy coverage through the FEHBP rather than the ACA. Contact our congressional representatives today and let them know how you feel about. possible changes in your health care program. 

 

Contact Senators McConnell and Paul and Congressman Andy Barr today.   Mailing Address for Andy Barr is : P.O. Box 2059, Lexington, KY 40588  Email: info@andybarrforcongress.com   Phone (859) 806-8683.

 

You can also reach  Congressman Barr at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY 40509, phone: 859-219-1366, hours: M-F 9-5 p.m.  Make that call!   Tom Miller, Legislative Chair

 

NARFE LEGISLATIVE REPORT AUGUST 2017  

NARFE is the largest federal  employee/retiree organization, with nearly 240,000 members, and it represents the interests of five million employees and retirees.  It has the following priorities for Congress: 
1. Protect the affordability of and choices provided by the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (Oppose increases in the individual's share of health insurance costs;  support efforts to reduce the cost of prescription drug coverage).

2. Support postal reform that would rid the agency of prefunding requirements for future retiree health care costs.

3. Support reasonable  reforms to personnel management systems that would improve efficiency but keep employee protections.

4. Oppose arbitrary reductions in Federal workers retirement compensation benefits.

5. Support funding of OPM needs for processing timely retirement benefits.

6. Support fair and full cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) to federal retirement annuities and Social Security benefits, and support proposals to improve the accuracy of COLAs for federal annuitants.

7. Support compensation and staffing levels necessary for an effective work force.

8. Support combat zone tax parity

9. Support equity in locality pay for retirees in high-cost areas like Alaska and Hawaii.  Please take action today to let your Congressman know your support for these issues.  It’s time to take a stand for the federal community now! 

You can reach  Congressman Andy Barr at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY 40509, phone: 859-219-1366, hours: M-F 9-5 p.m.  Make that call!

NARFE LEGISLATIVE REPORT JUNE 2017

All members of the federal community should be concerned with provisions of the Postal Service Reform Act, H.R. 756.  As currently written, this bill sets a dangerous precedent of changing retiree health care benefits in retirement.  Under the legislation, current postal retirees would be forced to enroll in Medicare Part B in order to continue receiving their health coverage through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), even though they previously declined this coverage.  While most retirees opt to enroll in Part B, it remains their choice whether to pay an additional $134 per month, or more, in premiums for the additional coverage.This bill is now pending before the House Committees on Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means.  Use NARFE’s Legislative Action Center to urge your representative to change the provision requiring postal retirees to pay additional premiums in order to keep their earned health benefits in retirement.If the bill moves forward without objection, it sends a message to Congress that it’s okay to change some-one’s benefits after they have already retired. Your voice could make the difference in this critical fight.

Please take action today to let your legislator know that improving the finances of the Postal Service on the backs of postal retirees is unacceptable.  It’s time to take a stand for the federal community now!  You can reach  Congressman Andy Barr at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY 40509, phone: 859-219-1366, hours: M-F 9-5 p.m.  Make that call! NARFE

LEGISLATIVE REPORT MAY 2017

NARFE regularly testifies before Congress and submits written testimony on issues affecting the pay and benefits of the federal community.  Congressional testimony is an important way NARFE ensures the voices of federal employees and retirees are heard in Congress.  For the 115th CONGRESS (2017-2018) NARFE President Richard Thissen submitted a statement for the record to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that NARFE strongly opposes H.R. 756, the Postal Reform Act of 2017, as it unfairly places the burden of fixing the Postal Service’s finances on the backs of postal retirees. In so doing, it breaks a longstanding promise to postal retirees by removing choice as it relates to their health care and forcing them to pay additional health insurance premiums or lose their earned health insurance coverage. This bill would require postal employees and retirees to enroll in Medicare or forfeit the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) coverage they earned as a benefit of long years of employment. For those 76,000 current postal retirees not enrolled in Medicare, this individual mandate would require an additional $134 per month (or more) in Medicare Part B premiums. That’s more than $1600 per year for an individual, and more than $3200 per year for a couple for health insurance coverage many postal retirees do not want, may not be able to afford, and have previously chosen not to take. NARFE has no objection to this requirement for current employees/future retirees, and suggests a simple alternative that would preserve choice for current postal retirees and realize substantial savings for the Postal Service: automatically enroll current postal retirees in Medicare Part B, but provide them with a short opt-out window of 60 or 90 days.

A weekly legislative message is emailed to NARFE members, posted on the NARFE  website, www.narfe.org, and available to NARFE members via telephone (703-838-7780 and toll-free at 1-877-217-8234 Keep in touch with  Congressman Andy Barr with your views on this and other legislative issues at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY 40509, phone: 859-219-1366, hours: M-F 9-5 p.m.  Make that call!       

   Tom Miller, Legislative Chair

Archived LEGISLATIVE UPDATES & Congressional responses by Tom Miller, Legislative Chairperson, Chapter 97   Continue to make your voice heard by contacting Congressman Andy Barr, (202-224-3121), Senators Rand Paul (202-224-4343) and Mitch McConnell (202-224-2541).   

NARFE LEGISLATIVE REPORT APRIL 2017
NARFE expects to see familiar provisions in the 2018 congressional budget calling for increases to current federal employees’ retirement contributions, higher premiums in the Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan (FEHBP), and a possible elimination of the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) for new hires altogether.  NARFE also fears the return of efforts to change the formula for how the Thrift Savings Plan calculates the average interest rate for the G-Fund. Lowering the rate of return could render the G-Fund nearly worthless for TSP participants. The President is expected to release the 2018 budget blueprint some time this month.  Congress will likely use tax reform as an avenue for the budget reconciliation process this year and next.  The main ingredient is his proposal to cut $54 billion from the domestic discretionary budget. At the NARFE Leadership Conference in Alexandria Virginia this month, NARFE President Richard G. Thissen noted that this proposed budget is of great concern to NARFE members, as federal agencies’ missions, their health-care benefits, retirement plans, and even their jobs are at risk with this proposed cut.
Keep in touch with  Congressman Andy Barr with your views on this and other legislative issues at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY 40509, phone: 859-219-1366, hours: M-F 9-5 p.m.  Make that call!                                      Tom Miller, Legislative Chair      

 NARFE LEGISLATIVE REPORT MARCH 2017

NARFE LEGISLATIVE REPORT President Donald Trump is generating several key pieces of legislative initiatives  that should be     followed closely.  Know that he fully supports  dramatic changes to federal employees’ retirement and health benefits, calling the current system “unsustainable.”  He believes that the Feds’ benefits are overly generous and antiquated.  The administration’s criticism of  the federal employees’ compensation package comes after Republicans in Congress have highlighted the issue as a top priority for legislative reform in the 115th Congress.  Federal employees health and retirement benefits have been  based on what can be regarded as antiquated assumptions, and the President believes most do not match current  private sector benefit packages. The White House's apparent call for change came as it announced the moratorium on hiring, saying the freeze was necessary to control costs relating to federal personnel.  Decreases in  benefits will come through the Congress.  Keep in touch with  Congressman Andy Barr with your views on this and other legislative issues at his office 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY 40509, phone: 859-219-1366, hours: M-F 9:00-5:00pm.  Make that call!         Tom Miller, Legislative Chair 

 NARFE LEGISLATIVE REPORT FEB. 2017

 Federal employees can expect attempts to cut their pay, benefits and rights in the new Congress, as the unified Republican government looks to finally deliver on many failed efforts from previous years. The 115th Congress wasted no time pursuing legislation with high impacts on the federal workforce.  Legislation introduced by the

 

 House would require the Veterans Affairs Department to permanently note all reprimands and admonishments on employee records, and a resolution setting the rules for the House this session will allow lawmakers to reduce or eliminate federal employees’ jobs and reduce their pay through the appropriations process.

 

 

 

One likely early target for congressional Republicans, according to multiple NARFE sources familiar with their plans, is federal workers’ defined benefit pensions. Lawmakers are expected to address the reform first through the budget reconciliation process, which would allow Congress to institute the cuts without any Democratic support. The budget resolution will likely instruct the House Oversight and Government Reform committee to identify a certain amount of savings, a request committee members can fulfill by proposing significant cuts to federal employees’ retirement benefits. Call or contact the U.S. Capitol using NARFE’s toll-free number 1-866-220-0044, and ask to be connected to your representative to voice your opinion on these and other legislation. As I mentioned at our January NARFE meeting, several bills will be introduced in the first quarter of President Trump's term.     Tom Miller, Legislative Chair

 

NARFE LEGISLATIVE REPORT JAN. 2017
Veterans' health benefits received a boost as the Senate   passed a series of bills that make small changes to veterans' health care and benefits. The Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2016 streamlines portions of the disability compensation and benefits process and adds two more judges who can make decisions in the often archaic and lengthy appeals process. The bill has 76 separate provisions, including hiring more mental health counselors and emergency room doctors.  It expands eligibility for homelessness prevention programs, extends critical education benefits to surviving family members, and limits the time that Department of Veterans Affairs employees can spend on administrative leave in a given year to 14 days. This legislation permits the VA secretary to set more flexible schedules for the department’s physicians and nurses. Specifically, the bill gets rid of the 80-hour biweekly pay period, as long as doctors work at least 2,080 hours during a given calendar year. It’s a provision that Secretary Bob McDonald has actively pushed for this year as one of his main priorities. Yet the omnibus package does not address many of the secretary’s other priorities, many of which were controversial issues that the department itself and veterans committees in both chambers of Congress spent the past year debating. The Veterans Choice Program will await the 115th Congress.  You can call the U.S. Capitol using NARFE’s toll-free number 1-866-220-0044, and ask to be connected to your representative to voice your opinion on this and other legislation.      Tom Miller, Legislative Chair

NARFE LEGISLATIVE REPORT DEC 2016

The NARFE Legislative Office  has made it clear to Congress that NARFE is very concerned about the 2017 Medicare Part B premium rates following the announcement of the 2017 cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in federal and military retirement annuities and Social Security benefits. NARFE joined seventy-four other organizations in outlining the hardships that these beneficiaries face. The 0.3 percent COLA triggers the "hold harmless" provision in the Social Security Act, which limits the dollar increase in Medicare Part B premiums to the dollar increase in an individual’s Social Security benefit.

Absent congressional action, the bulk of the burden of the Medicare Part B premium increases will be placed on a single subsection of Medicare beneficiaries--the 30 percent who are not held harmless, including individuals who don’t pay their premiums from Social Security benefits. Based on the COLA announcement, 2017 Part B premiums could rise to more than $145 per month, a substantial increase from the current $121.80 per month, for those who are not held harmless, including Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) annuitants.                                          Tom Miller Legislative Chair

NARFE LEGISLATIVE REPORT NOV 2016

Election day is Tuesday, November 8, 2016.  It  will be the 58th quadrennial U.S. presidential election.  Voters will select presidential electors, who in turn will vote for a new president and vice president through the Electoral College. We also have had our candidates for Congress address our NARFE membership over the last two months, and we have had an opportunity to ask both Congressman Andy Barr and challenger Nancy Jo Kemper the tough questions at our recent NARFE meetings. As a NARFE member take the time to VOTE! Legislatively we continue to have Congress working on  a number of NARFE’s legislative priorities, including more on U.S. Postal Service Reform.  NARFE opposes H.R. 5714 and S. 2051 because they require current postal retirees and their spouses to enroll in Medicare or lose their Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) coverage.  NARFE supports H.R. 711, the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act, as originally introduced.  NARFE has long sought repeal of the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and continues to support full repeal of both. The Federal community has done its fair share to decrease the deficit and should not be singled out to absorb further cuts.              Thomas W. Miller, Legislative Chair                    

NARFE LEGISLATIVE REPORT Oct 2016 (No Sept. issue)

The U.S. Congress will have a long "to do list" before they adjourn and finish the year.   NARFE’s legislative priorities include U.S. Postal Service Reform. NARFE opposes H.R. 5714 and S. 2051 because they require current postal retirees and their spouses to enroll in Medicare or lose their Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) coverage.  NARFE supports H.R. 711, the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act, as originally introduced.  NARFE has long sought repeal of the WEP and the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and continues to support full repeal of both. The Federal community has done its fair share to decrease the deficit and should not be singled out to absorb further cuts.  Come to the October 5th NARFE meeting at the new Lexington Senior Center at 1:30 p.m. and share your thoughts with Congressman Andy Barr.           Thomas W. Miller, Legislative Chair

August 2016 NARFE LEGISLATIVE REPORT

Congress is working on comprehensive reform legislation focusing on improving postal operations--     S. 2051, the Improving Postal Operations, Services and Transparency (iPost) Act. NARFE has two major objec-tions to this bill. First, it requires postal retirees to enroll in Medicare as a condition of continued receipt of retiree health insurance benefits. Second, it makes draconian reductions in compensation benefits for injured federal workers across the federal government. That controver-sial provision has no place in a postal reform bill.

NARFE recognizes the benefits of Medicare integration, both for the finances of the U.S. Postal Service and for postal retirees, who could save out-of-pocket health care expenses for such things as copays and coinsurance, by enrolling in both Medicare and FEHBP. With that in mind, NARFE supports a special Medicare enrollment period for postal retirees, in which late enrollment fees would be waived, along with an education campaign designed to encourage them to enroll in Medicare. In other words, enrollment would not be mandatory, but encouraged for current retirees. NARFE believes at least half of those currently not enrolled in Medicare would opt in during this special enrollment period. As an organization with tens of thousands of postal retiree members, we would be fully committed to this education campaign. Under this alternative, mandatory enrollment for current employees (future retirees) would continue under this proposal. NARFE does not oppose mandatory Medicare enrollment for those currently employed.

 

On July 6, 2016, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 422-2 to approve an amended version of H.R. 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2016. Introduced by Representatives Tim Murphy (R-PA) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), this bipartisan legislation would reform federal mental health policies and programs to increase patients’ access to effective and evidence-based care, particularly for those with serious mental illness (SMI).

 

Keep up-to-date with the heavy legislative calendar this fall by reading the weekly the NARFE Hotline and regularly checking the NARFE website. All legislative updates regarding current legislation can be found on the NARFE homepage.      Thomas W. Miller, Legislative Chair

 

 NARFE LEGISLATIVE REPORT JUNE 2016

After our May NARFE meeting at the Senior Center, some NARFE members asked me to clarify H.R. 711, the WEP reform legislation. Details as known were spelled out in our chapter's May newsletter. As currently written and if passed, H.R. 711 the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act of 2015, would help mitigate the WEP penalty on Social Security benefits of federal retirees by providing some relief for both current beneficiaries through a rebate and future Social Security recipients by improving the formula going forward.   Retirees will have to wait for the Medicare Trustees’ report in July to see if an increase in Part B premiums is recommended, and until October to see if the CPI-W index number moves sufficiently high to allow for a COLA under the current law. See more at: http://www.fedsmith.com/2016/05/03/what-is-worse-than-no-cola-a-small-cola/#sthash.vKot51cF.dpuf.    [Of course this legislation does not address the Govern-ment Pension Offset (GPO), which can drastically affect or eliminate the spousal Social Security benefits of federal retirees.]  NARFE members are encouraged to contact Congressman Barr's office at (859) 219-1366 with your views, questions or concerns. Keep up to date by checking the NARFE Legislative Department at leg@narfe.org or 703-838-7760, ext 201.   
Thomas W. Miller, Legislative Chair

NARFE LEGISLATIVE REPORT MAY 2016

NARFE members have been waiting for action on the GPO/WEP legislation. The House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee is holding hearings that will focus on both the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO), and reform proposals for each. Specifically, the hearing will discuss H.R. 711, the WEP reform legislation. Note that H.R. 711 would not repeal the WEP, but it would reduce the WEP penalty applied to future Social Security benefit payments, beginning in 2017, for those who turn age 62 before 2017. 

The amount of the reduction will be determined by the Social Security Administration (SSA) actuary, but it is currently estimated to be about 32 percent of the WEP penalty. The amount would be based on how much SSA expects to recover through increased enforcement of the WEP, as directed by the bill, on state and local government retirees who had underreported their government employment earnings. For individuals who turn 62 during or after 2017, the bill would replace the current WEP formula with a fairer one. 

NARFE favors full repeal of the WEP, but years of pushing repeal by NARFE and other groups have been unsuccessful. The bill’s sponsor is chairman of the committee with jurisdiction over the WEP. In addition, it has bipartisan support and is cost-neutral, meaning it would not add to the deficit. These factors indicate that H.R. 711 has a good chance of making it out of committee, and next week’s hearing is a good first sign.  

The Senate bill S. 2699, titled the Federal Adjustment Income Rates (FAIR) Act, would provide a 5.3 percent across-the-board pay increase for federal employees for 2017. NARFE supports S. 2699, as well as the House companion, H.R. 4585. NARFE members are encouraged to contact Congressman Barr's office at (859) 219-1366 with any views, questions or concerns they might have.   Another source is the NARFE Legislative Department at leg@narfe.org or 703-838-7760, ext 201.

                         Thomas W. Miller, Legislative Chair  

NARFE LEGISLATIVE REPORT  - April 2016

Be alert to H.R. 4461, a bill introduced as the "Federal Employee Rights Act," that despite its name would undermine the rights of federal employee unions. While it doesn’t take direct aim at membership associations like NARFE, any movement on the bill could signal the beginning of a slippery slope that could eventually have an impact on NARFE and other membership organizations representing federal employees and retirees. Under the bill, federal employee unions would be barred from automatically deducting dues from workers’ paychecks, despite the fact that federal employees are not required to join unions or pay dues if they choose not to join. H.R. 4461 also would alter the way union elections are conducted by counting workers who decline to vote as a “no” in the final tally.

NARFE LEGISLATIVE REPORT  - Mar 2016
    
   
Your most recent issue of the NARFE Magazine has updates on major NARFE legislative issues. Several will    come to a vote during the current Congress.   After you’ve read it, please drop a note to Congressman Andy Barr on your position on key legislative issues. Postal reform is still in committee but needs your input regarding a move to privatization. You can also mention the re-introduction of GPO/WEP repeal legislation.

 

 Current state legislation on pensions and retirement, including state taxation of retirement income, is available in a searchable database hosted by the National Conference of State Legislatures. You can search 2012-2016 pensions and retirement bills by topic, primary author, state, bill number, status or keyword.

     If you have any questions always feel free to contact the NARFE Legislative Department at leg@narfe.org or      703-838-7760, ext 201. They welcome your inquiry and comments.


LEGISLATIVE REPORT June 2015 

 The Republican-led House has  passed a compromise GOP budget for Fiscal Year 2016. This non-binding plan didn't contain the provision introduced in the House   which I reported in  March that called for increased contributions for all federal employees to their retirement plans.   The plan, which GOP leaders in the House and Senate hammered out from their separate budget proposals, is more of a guiding document rather than a final, congressional budget. The Senate was expected to approve the compromise, but both chambers still have to go through the appropriations process where a lot can happen.

The GOP's joint budget plan aims to cut overall spending by $5 trillion and balance the federal budget in nine years. At the same time, it seeks to offset an increase in Defense spending by repealing the Affordable Care Act and cut agency operating budgets further than sequestration requires — about $500 billion over 10 years. The main concern many federal employees had when the House released its budget in March was the increase to federal employees' retirement contributions.  Currently, anyone hired before 2013 contributes 0.8 percent to the Federal Employees Retirement System. Federal employees hired in 2013 contribute 3.1 percent to their defined benefit pension. Employees hired in 2014 are required to contribute 4.4 percent. Under the original budget proposal in March, all federal employees would pay 6.6 percent.   The weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703-838-7780 and toll-free at 1-877-217-8234); posted on the NARFE website, www.narfe.org.  Continue to contact your Congressional representatives.                                    Tom Miller, Legislative Chair

LEGISLATIVE REPORT May 2015
NARFE’s top priorities are to protect Federal employees and retirees amidst a contentious budget process that aims to take more from the federal community. At the time of this draft, the House and Senate had not yet met to resolve differences in their budget proposals. The House budget called for $318 billion in pay and benefit cuts for Federal employees and retirees over the next 10 years.  The unprecedented proposal included an increase in retirement contributions by federal employees, slashing the number of employees, cutting the rate of return on the Thrift Savings Plan G Fund, and lowering the government's share in the cost of federal employee and retiree health plans.  No figures pertaining to a pay raise for federal employees for 2016 have been released either, although the President’s budget proposed a raise of 1.3 percent.  The Senate budget,  less specific in  details, proposes a plan that would save $170 billion over the next 10 years at the expense of the federal workforce.  It also proposes increased employee payments for retirement benefits. This comes after Congress already has increased the contribution level for new hires twice in recent years. The Senate budget also would make changes to the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), and would limit federal hiring.  NARFE urges every member to contact their  congressional representatives to oppose these proposals. 

The 2015 NARFE Legislative Training Conference was attended by some 250 grassroots activists and leaders.  During the four-day event, participants met with more than 200 members of Congress or staff and shared NARFE’s priorities for the 114th Congress.                                      Tom Miller, Legislative Chair

LEGISLATIVE REPORT Apr. 2015

 NARFE joined with over 60 other organizations to form a “grand alliance” to save the United States Postal Service.  Bills covering  most of NARFE issues are moving through various congressional committees.

 President Obama released his budget for FY16, which will start on October 1, 2015.  Key  proposals regarding the federal service and NARFE include a 1.3% pay raise for active employees; consolidating agencies and departments with similar missions (but offering little details on the proposal);  and reforming the personnel system, though again there were no specifics.  Note- worthy is that  President Obama did not include the Chained CPI or an increase in retirement contributions for active federal employees in his budget. The House and Senate should release their own budget proposals this month.

 The weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703-838-7780 and toll-free at 1-877-217-8234); posted on the NARFE website, www.narfe.org.  Continue to contact your Congressional Senators and Representative with you position on proposed legislation.                      Tom Miller, Legislative Chair

LEGISLATIVE REPORT Mar. 2015
NARFE joined with over 60 other organizations to form a “grand alliance” to save the United States Postal Service.  Bills covering  most of NARFE issues are moving through various congressional committees.

 President Obama released his budget for FY16, which will start on October 1, 2015.  Key  proposals regarding the federal service and NARFE include a 1.3% pay raise for active employees; consolidating agencies and departments with similar missions (but offering little details on the proposal);  and reforming the personnel system, though again there were no specifics.  Note- worthy is that  President Obama did not include the Chained CPI or an increase in retirement contributions for active federal employees in his budget. The House and Senate should release their own budget proposals this month.

 The weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703-838-7780 and toll-free at 1-877-217-8234); posted on the NARFE website, www.narfe.org.  Continue to contact your Congressional Senators and Representative with you position on proposed legislation.                      Tom Miller, Legislative Chair

LEGISLATIVE REPORT Jan. 2015

 Since Thanksgiving, the primary focus of the Lame Duck congress has been finishing a spending bill. The spending bill is an omnibus package for the majority of the government, meaning that most agencies will have spending authority thru the end of the fiscal year.  The one exception – and the “CR” in CROmnibus – is the Department of Homeland Security.  The House and Senate did pass the National Defense Authorization Act, which includes an extension of the reemployed annuitant provision.

 Once the House and Senate adjourn sine die, all pending legislation will also expire.  This means that anything that has not passed the House and Senate must be re-introduced in the new Congress and will receive new bill numbers.  This is a double edged sword, as legislation we support has to start over – but so does legislation we do not support.

 Before recessing for Thanksgiving, the House and Senate held their leadership elections.  There were no changes in party leadership in either party in either chamber.  The House also held their elections for committee chairs.  Important to NARFE are the new chairs of our committees.  Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) will chair the House Oversight and Governmental Affairs Committee.  This is our primary committee of jurisdiction. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) will chair the House Ways and Means Committee.  This is the committee with jurisdiction over Social Security and would take-up the Chained CPI.   Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) will chair the House Budget Committee.          Tom Miller, Legislation

LEGISLATIVE REPORT Dec. 2014

 With the election behind us, members MUST BE extra vigilant!  As mentioned at the November meeting and in the NARFE Magazine, there are twenty-two (22) bills in committee related to NARFE affairs.  These range from health care benefits and the repeal of WEP to postal reform.  Expect these to come out of committee and be scheduled on the agenda early in January.

NARFE members are urged to use the NARFE Hotline for updates on the various legislative issues.  A weekly legislative message is also available to telephone callers (703-838-7780 or toll-free at 877-217-8234), and posted on the NARFE website at www.narfe.org
  Tom Miller, Legislative Chairperson

LEGISLATIVE REPORT - Nov 2014

 Congressman Andy Barr, U.S. Representative for Kentucky’s Sixth Congressional District, spoke at the October Meeting.  In his opening remarks Rep Barr covered several critical topics to NARFE including improving and protecting the affordability of and choice provided by the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP).  He has made efforts to save the jobs and the Lexington Nandino Post Office Mail Processing Center by meeting with the Postmaster General.

 Congressman Barr entertained a number of questions on postal reform, simplifying the tax code and making it fairer, and support for Social Security as well as cuts to Medicare.  He highlighted that he has co-sponsored a bi-partisan legislative initiative, and he discussed the need for a spending reform that reduces the debt and protects our shared priorities.

 Barr thanked all federal employees and retirees for their service.  He acknowledged that he may not always vote the way we might want, but he would always be available and accessible to constituents to listen to the arguments on legislative issues. Before closing the session, he accepted an invitation to join NARFE Chapter 97!                                                                                                                                       Tom Miller, Legislative Chair

 [Congressman Barr accepted an invitation to speak after our October newsletter went to press.]

 LEGISLATIVE REPORT Oct., 2014

 As the fiscal year is ending without the enactment of any of the twelve (12) regular appropriations bills, Congressional leaders are intent on passing an eight-week stop-gap funding bill and recessing again to allow members to return home to campaign.  A “lame-duck” session will likely occur beginning November 12.

 You are urged to use the NARFE Hotline for updates on Legislative issues.  The weekly legislative message is also available to telephone callers (703-838-7780 and toll-free at 877-217-8234) as well as posted on the NARFE website (www.narfe.org).  Past editions of reports are archived for member access.  Each of these delivery techniques is a service of NARFE.        Tom Miller, Chapter Legislative Chairperson

NO LEGISLATIVE REPORT - Sept. 2014

LEGISLATIVE REPORT -August 2014

 August is “grassroots” month as congressional folks are on recess in their home states.   NARFE members are encouraged to visit congressional websites and register for congressional newsletters.  Doing so is often the only way to learn about public meetings including town halls.  The gateway for representatives’ websites is www.house.gov  and www.senate.gov for senators.   Follow legislative information in the NARFE Magazine and/or on the website at www.narfe.org.

  DONATE TO NARFE-PAC

 We are now approaching the fall Congressional election, and your contribution to NARFE-PAC can make a huge difference.  Chapter contributions so far this year have amounted to $660.  If you have not made a contribution yet, please consider making one now!

 This is a critical election.  Your contributions make it possible for NARFE to influence and make allies in Congress.  Only NARFE members can contribute.   Make your contribution at any chapter meetings or mail a check made out to NARFE-PAC to Don Starsinic NARFE-PAC Chair, 3283 Cornwall Drive, Lexington, KY 40503-3446.  Persons making contributions of $20 or more are entitled to a NARFE-PAC pin.

 

 

 

LEGISLATIVE REPORT

 A legislative initiative to watch at this point involves  the House Republican Study Committee who  released a new blueprint to overhaul the civil service system.  High points of this legislation are an expedited system of firing federal employees, more merit-based bonuses and cuts to automatic pay raises. The Republican Study Committee and its 146 members praised the federal workforce overall, but said in its Government Efficiency, Accountability and Reform Task Force that civil servants' overall compensation is too high. Their efforts are to   bring some of the private sector practices into personnel management so that federal workers can be paid appropriately.  The report calls for a less centralized hiring process, empowering managers and subject matter experts over the Office of Personnel Management. It also suggested an easier process for firing poorly performing and misbehaving employees.

 Lawmakers pointed specifically to the Modern Employees Reform, Improvement and Transformation (MERIT) Act, which was introduced last Congress which would empower agency heads to fire any

 employee, provided they give a notice in writing. Employees would have seven days to appeal a removal to the Merit Systems Protection Board, which would in turn have 30 days to make a final decision. If it did not rule in time, the agency’s decision would stand. Employees would not receive any pay or benefits in that interim period. The measure would provide agencies with the authority to rescind bonuses or other cash awards deemed to be “wrongly paid” to workers and extend the probationary period for new hires from one to two years.

 Lawmakers wish to  curb the use of performance improvement plans typically offered to employees as a precursor to discipline. The Republican Study Committee said step increases should be made smaller with the savings going to agency leaders to dole out as bonuses to top performers. OPM should change the definition for “fully successful” on performance ratings, it added, to make it a harder-to-reach standard. Citing research by the Congressional Budget Office, the lawmakers suggested the lowest-ranked federal employees are overpaid and those at the top are underpaid. To fix this, they said Congress should expand the General Schedule so top-ranked employees earn more and those at the bottom earn less. Recalling a common suggestion from Republican reform proposals, the plan envisioned a retirement system in which pensions are phased out in favor of a Thrift Savings Plan-only system, with larger agency contributions. The Republican Study Committee called for the government to pay a flat fee for workers’ premiums in the Federal Employees Health Benefits System, rather than a percentage of the overall cost, to give employees an incentive to select cheaper plans. 

 NARFE encourages all members to review the weekly legislative message available for telephone callers (703-838-7780 and toll-free at 1-877-217-8234) and posted  on the NARFE website, www.narfe.org.  Continue to contact our Congressional representatives  with your position on these and other legislative issues.  Congressman Barr can be reached M-F at his office, 2709 Old Rosebud Road, Lexington, KY 40509, (859) 219-1366.  Senator McConnell’s Lexington office is at 771 Corporate Dr., Suite 108, 40503 (859) 223-8286.   Senator Paul’s office is at 1029 State St., Bowling Green, KY 42101, (270) 782-8303.                   

                                     Tom  Miller, Legislative Chair