Electronic copies  of our newsletters are available from the links to the left. Our newsletters are published monthly, except for July and August.

NEWS:

NARFE Headquarters, February 9, 2018

“For months, NARFE has been asking its members to contact their lawmakers while Congress negotiated a bipartisan spending agreement. Today, I want to say thank you to all those who took action and tell you that your advocacy paid off. Congress passed a two-year bipartisan spending agreement that did not require cuts to federal pay and benefits as offsets. This is a big victory for the federal community and another powerful demonstration of NARFE’s grassroots efforts. Every email, letter and phone call you made to your legislators made a difference. The federal community has many fights ahead of us this year, but I know that NARFE members will rise to the occasion and advocate for their earned pay and benefits.”

Spending Agreement Passes: Federal Pay and Benefits Not Used as Offset

After a brief funding lapse, the president signed into law a two-year bipartisan agreement to lift strict budget caps on annual defense and domestic spending without using federal pay and benefits as offsets. This is a big win for the federal community and NARFE wants to thank all of its members who took action by contacting their legislators over the past several months. Your advocacy played a vital role in this victory.

The agreement increases annual discretionary spending by $300 billion over the next two years. Defense spending will increase by $80 billion in fiscal year 2018 (FY18) and $85 billion in fiscal year 2019 (FY19). Domestic spending caps will rise by $63 billion in FY18 and then $68 billion in FY19. Offsets worth about $100 billion were required, but they were not derived from federal pay and benefits.

The agreement includes another continuing resolution that funds the government through March 23. This will give lawmakers the necessary time to finalize the details of appropriations now that topline spending numbers have been agreed to. The deal also temporarily suspended the debt ceiling for more than a year, until March 1, 2019.

Once again, thank you to all the NARFE members who remained vigilant and advocated for the federal community. The next few months will likely contain many challenges for the federal community, but NARFE members have proven that they are powerful advocates. See NARFE’s statement on the bipartisan spending agreement by going here.

President Expected to Release FY19 Budget Proposal Next Week

With a spending agreement in place, NARFE now awaits the release of the president’s fiscal year 2019 budget proposal on February 12. NARFE members will recall that the president’s previous budget contained many proposals targeting the federal community, such as reducing and eliminating cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs), ending the FERS Annuity Supplement for new retirees and increasing employee retirement contributions for those under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). NARFE will closely monitor the budget proposal once it is made available.

Make Your Voice Heard in Congress

NARFE members are encouraged to use the new, easy-to-use Legislative Action Center to send letters to members of Congress on a variety of NARFE issues, sign up for action alerts and track NARFE-related bills and votes.

Have you attended a meeting, town hall, or telephone town hall with your Senator(s) or Representative recently? Fill out a simple feedback form here in the new LAC to tell NARFE’s legislative staff the details of your legislator’s stance on NARFE issues.

The Legislative Department appreciates your advocacy efforts to protect the earned pay and benefits of active and retired federal employees!

Obtaining the Hotline

This 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). Past editions are archived for NARFE member access. If you have any questions regarding the information in this Hotline, please email NARFE’s Legislative Department at leg@narfe.org or call 703-838-7760.

Return to February 9, 2018

Return to top news

NARFE Headquarters, January 12, 2018

Message from NARFE President Richard G. Thissen

Congress is getting back into the swing of things, creating uncertainty for the earned pay and benefits of the federal community. Lawmakers have yet to reach an agreement on a spending deal, which means we have to continue to make our voices heard loud and clear. Federal pay and benefits were earned through years of hard work and dedication to this country. Cutting what we have earned to offset an increase in spending is wrong. Congress is still working toward a deal, and that means that NARFE members cannot afford to sit idly by. We need to contact our legislators and urge them to oppose any cuts to our earned pay and benefits.”

 Pay and Benefits Threat Continues in Congress

Lawmakers are continuing spending negotiations as the January 19 deadline to keep the government funded quickly approaches. So far, as is being reported, topline numbers have not been agreed to for a potential bipartisan spending agreement raising the sequester caps. With funding running out soon, Congress is also considering another continuing resolution to create additional time to craft a full spending agreement. As it stands, the threat against the federal community remains.

NARFE members must contact their legislators and tell them not to use federal benefits as an offset for raising sequestration budget caps. Congress has used federal benefits in past bipartisan budget agreements for offsets and the federal community must let Congress know that this is unacceptable.

Lawmakers must hear from NARFE members if we are to be successful. Contacting your legislators is easy. Simply click here to send a letter urging them to reject any spending agreement that cuts the earned pay and benefits of the federal community. Want to be an even more effective advocate? Customize your letter with your story of federal service and amplify your voice within congressional offices.

Did You Recently Retire from Federal Service?

Federal News Radio is looking to speak to former federal employees who retired in 2017 for an upcoming story. They’re interested in learning why you made your decision to retire, what factors went into that decision, and anything else you’d like to share. If you retired in 2017 and are comfortable talking about your decision, please contact reporter Nicole Ogrysko directly at nogrysko@federalnewsradio.com or 202-274-4823.

Postal Service Offers Voluntary Early Retirement

The U. S. Postal Service is sending a Voluntary Early Retirement Authority (VERA) offer to nearly 26,000 mail handlers and postal clerks, with the goal of reducing the workforce by the end of March. Eligible postal employees will receive a letter notifying them of the opportunity along with information about their estimated annuity.

Based on the guidelines, an eligible employee must have at least 20 years of service and be at least age 50, or have 25 years of service at any age. In a notice, the Postal Service made it clear that they do not intend to offer any buyout incentives for those who accept the VERA.

The Postal Service received a VERA from the Office of Personnel Management and began sending the letters on January 8. More information on the voluntary early retirement process and the filing deadlines can be found here.

Are You Affected by the Fiduciary Rule Delay?

NARFE is working with coalition allies to identify individuals who will be affected by the delay of the Department of Labor’s (DOL) “fiduciary rule” and who want the full protections of the rule restored.

The fiduciary rule, issued in 2016, created various protections to ensure that financial advisers put their clients’ best interests first when giving advice regarding the investment of retirement account holdings, such as those held in individual retirement accounts (IRAs) or advice to roll over Thrift Savings Plan holdings into an IRA. NARFE supported the issuance of this rule.

However, under the new administration, the DOL issued a new rule in December that would delay implementation of the key fiduciary rule provisions by 18 months. This is likely the first step toward rescinding or changing key provisions that ensure financial advisers uphold a meaningful fiduciary responsibility to their clients. NARFE, along with coalition allies, opposes the delay and wants the full protections of the rule restored.

As part of our advocacy efforts, NARFE is seeking to identify members who would be harmed by the delay and meet the following criteria:

1) You invest in an IRA, not an employer-sponsored 401(k).

2) You receive investment advice from a financial adviser, financial consultant, broker or representative of a company selling investment products, such as mutual funds or annuities, but you are not a client of a registered investment adviser.

3) You pay for the investment advice by commission (this would include, for example, purchasing class A mutual funds or most variable- or fixed-indexed annuities, although there are also other products that are typically sold by commission).

4) You plan to receive investment advice about your IRA holdings this year.

If you believe you meet the above criteria and would potentially be interested in helping us oppose the delay, please let us know by e-mailing leg@narfe.org.

Make Your Voice Heard in Congress

NARFE members are encouraged to use the new, easy-to-use Legislative Action Center to send letters to members of Congress on a variety of NARFE issues, sign up for action alerts and track NARFE-related bills and votes.

Have you attended a meeting, town hall, or telephone town hall with your Senator(s) or Representative recently? Fill out a simple feedback form here in the new LAC to tell NARFE’s legislative staff the details of your legislator’s stance on NARFE issues.

The Legislative Department appreciates your advocacy efforts to protect the earned pay and benefits of active and retired federal employees!

Obtaining the Hotline

This 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). Past editions are archived for NARFE member access. If you have any questions regarding the information in this Hotline, please email NARFE’s Legislative Department at leg@narfe.org or call 703-838-7760.

Return to January 12, 2018

Return to top news

NARFE Headquarters, December 22, 2017

Message from NARFE President Richard G. Thissen

“I want to wish you, your families and the entire federal community a happy holiday season. It’s nice to reflect on all that has happened this year and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve you as NARFE President. NARFE members came together during the past year and made their voices heard throughout many congressional fights. The federal family is comprised of caring people who made it their life’s work to serve the American public. This desire to serve says a lot about the selfless nature of our community, and explains our resolve. Next year will bring many unknowns, but NARFE member’s commitment is without question. I wish you all great joy and a happy New Year.”

Shutdown Avoided But Keeps Feds at Risk

After back and forth negotiations, the House and Senate passed a continuing resolution that keeps the government funded at fiscal year 2017 levels through January 19, 2018. The continuing resolution gives Congress additional time to work out a spending agreement that is likely to raise sequestration budget caps. Lawmakers will return to Capitol Hill in early January to begin the second half of the 115th Congress.

With another continuing resolution in place, NARFE members should use this time to contact their legislators and tell them not to use federal benefits as an offset for raising sequestration budget caps. Lawmakers must hear NARFE members if we are to be successful.

Congress has used federal benefits in past bipartisan budget agreements for offsets and the federal community must take a stand. Contacting your legislators is easy. Simply click here to send a letter urging them to reject any spending agreement that cuts the earned pay and benefits of the federal community.

Congress Passes Tax Overhaul

This week, Congress passed a major tax bill, H.R. 1, and sent it to the president for his signature. NARFE closely monitored the development of this bill from the beginning of the budget resolution process and successfully fought back against attempts to cut federal retirement benefits to pay for the tax reform.

Of significant concern to NARFE and its members was the possible elimination of the medical expense deduction, which millions of taxpayers over age 65 use to reduce large out-of-pocket medical expenses, such as nursing home care. Fortunately, attempts to do away with this deduction were thwarted and the medical expense deduction was not eliminated.

Of special note, the tax bill indexes the newly-formed tax brackets using the Chained CPI. This is causing understandable confusion, as NARFE has long fought the use of the Chained CPI for determining annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs). However, the tax bill does not change the current index (CPI-W) used to determine annual COLAs. NARFE strongly opposes using the Chained CPI for determining COLAs to federal and military retirement annuities and Social Security because it would decrease benefits and undermines the true costs facing older Americans.

NARFE remains concerned with the $1.5 trillion increase to the deficit that this bill adds and the potential that substantial spending cuts down the road will be justified based on deficit concerns. Such cuts could be made to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and/or federal retirement and health benefits. With this in mind, NARFE will fight against any attempts to reduce or eliminate federal earned pay and benefits.

NARFE’s 2017 Legislative Accomplishments

The year brought many serious threats to the earned pay and benefits of the federal community and it was NARFE’s priority to defeat those attacks and advance legislative improvements. In 2017, all attempts by Congress and the president to cut the earned pay and benefits of the federal community were thwarted. This was no small feat, and NARFE thanks its members who took action to protect their earned benefits.

NARFE fought back against the $149 billion in cuts outlined in the president’s budget proposal and successfully lobbied Congress to drop the $32 billion in cuts to federal retirement benefits outlined in the House budget resolution. In addition, postal reform legislation that removes postal retirees' health insurance choice did not advance in Congress.

In the midst of all the threats, NARFE also helped provide more flexible withdrawal option for Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) participants with the passage of the TSP Modernization Act. Thank you to all the NARFE members who contacted their legislators in the past year. Find out more about NARFE’s 2017 legislative accomplishments here.

NARFE Headquarters Closed Next Week

NARFE Headquarters will be closed the afternoon of December 22 - January 1, with the office reopening January 2. Barring any unforeseen congressional action, the Hotline will return to its regular schedule on Friday, January 5. Happy holidays!

Make Your Voice Heard in Congress

NARFE members are encouraged to use the new, easy-to-use Legislative Action Center to send letters to members of Congress on a variety of NARFE issues, sign up for action alerts and track NARFE-related bills and votes.

Have you attended a meeting, town hall, or telephone town hall with your Senator(s) or Representative recently? Fill out a simple feedback form here in the new LAC to tell NARFE’s legislative staff the details of your legislator’s stance on NARFE issues.

The Legislative Department appreciates your advocacy efforts to protect the earned pay and benefits of active and retired federal employees!

Obtaining the Hotline

This 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). Past editions are archived for NARFE member access. If you have any questions regarding the information in this Hotline, please email NARFE’s Legislative Department at leg@narfe.org or call 703-838-7760.

Return to December 22, 2017

Return to top news