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 Legislative Hotline, April 24, 2015

Message From NARFE President Richard G. Thissen

“House and Senate conferees continue to negotiate a final congressional budget agreement that could ask for as much as $318 billion in pay and benefit cuts from federal employees and retirees. I am asking every NARFE member, as well as every federal employee or retiree, and every concerned citizen who cares about the effectiveness of our government, to call their members of Congress and tell them to vote ‘NO’ on any agreement that targets the federal workforce this way. More information is below. Make the call now!”

Call Congress: Joint Budget Agreement Vote Still Pending

Members of the budget conference committee are hoping to strike a deal and produce a joint budget resolution to be voted on next week. The budget conference committee is tasked with drafting the final fiscal year 2016 budget resolution that must pass both the House and Senate. Once the budget passes both chambers, it will be used as a guideline for the appropriations process, which will determine how funding is divided among federal agencies and programs.

The House and Senate passed budget resolutions in March that cut billions of dollars worth of pay and benefits from federal employees and retirees. The House budget proposed $318 billion in “savings” by raising the cost of health insurance for all FEHBP participants, eliminating federal jobs, increasing retirement contributions for current employees and, perhaps most shocking, changing the rate of return on the Thrift Savings Plan G Fund. The Senate budget, while less specific in how it would cut costs, still asks the federal community for $170 billion toward deficit reduction. The joint budget agreement is expected to include the same severe cuts.

NARFE is continuing to ask all members to call their senators and representative to tell them to vote “No” on any joint budget resolution that includes cuts to federal employees’ and retirees’ pay and benefits. Click here for instructions on how to call in and what to say. NARFE’s toll-free number, 1-866-220-0044, is available for members to use. NOW is the time to take action.

Public Service Recognition Week,

May 3-9, 2015 The 30th anniversary of Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW) is May 3-9. Organized by the Public Employees Roundtable (PER), of which NARFE is a member, PSRW is a week set aside to honor military, federal, state, county and local government employees.This year’s theme is “Government Works,” which puts a spotlight on the accomplishments of the men and women who dedicate their lives to public service.

More information about PSRW and how to get involved can be found at the PSRW webpage on the NARFE website and at http://publicservicerecognitionweek.org/.

NARFE is encouraging its members to take the opportunity to convey the value of the work they did, or still do, as federal employees, and their personal pride in working for our nation by sending a letter to the editor (LTE) to their local newspaper. Sample drafts and letter templates you can personalize can be found here.

Let’s take this opportunity to share with others the good work federal employees do to keep us safe and secure.

Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is May 9th

According to Feeding America, hunger haunts 1 in 6 Americans, which is why NARFE again is pleased to support the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive on Saturday, May 9. In solidarity with the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), we urge each NARFE member to plan now to collect and bag nonperishable food items and place the bag by your mailbox for your letter carrier on Saturday, May 9. The Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is the nation’s largest single-day drive with last year’s drive collecting 72.5 million pounds of food. More details on the 23rd annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive are available here.

Return to April 24, 2015

Return to top news

NARFE Legislative Hotline, April 17, 2015

Message From NARFE President Richard G. Thissen

“Next week, House and Senate conferees will meet to hash out a final congressional budget agreement that could ask for as much as $318 billion in pay and benefit cuts from federal employees and retirees. I am asking every NARFE member, as well as every federal employee or retiree, and every concerned citizen who cares about the effectiveness of our government, to call their members of Congress and tell them to vote ‘NO’ on any agreement that targets the federal workforce this way. More information is below. Make the call now!”

Call Congress: Joint Budget Agreement Vote Still Pending

Congress failed to meet the legal deadline of April 15 for adopting a joint budget resolution, but House and Senate leaders appointed members to a budget conference committee this week. The committee is responsible for drafting the final fiscal year 2016 budget that must pass both the House and Senate.

The House and Senate passed budget resolutions in March that cut billions of dollars worth of pay and benefits from federal employees and retirees. The House budget proposed $318 billion in “savings” by raising the cost of health insurance for all FEHBP participants, eliminating federal jobs, increasing retirement contributions for current employees and, perhaps most shocking, changing the rate of return on the Thrift Savings Plan G Fund. The Senate budget, while less specific in how it would cut costs, still asks the federal community for $170 billion toward deficit reduction. The joint budget agreement is expected to include the same severe cuts.

NARFE is continuing to ask all members to call their senators and representative to tell them to vote “No” on any joint budget resolution that includes cuts to federal employees’ and retirees’ pay and benefits. Click here for instructions on how to call in and what to say. NARFE’s toll-free number, 1-866-220-0044, is available for members to use. NOW is the time to take action.

‘Doc-Fix’ Bill Signed into Law

President Obama signed into law H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, a $200 billion Medicare reform package. Also known as the “doc-fix” bill, the Senate overwhelmingly passed H.R. 2 earlier this week by a vote of 92-8. The bill gained easy passage through the House back in March with a vote of 392-37.

Hailed as one of the first bipartisan achievements of the 114th Congress, H.R. 2 will permanently repeal and replace the Medicare “sustainable growth rate” (SGR) formula, which determines how much doctors are reimbursed for providing care to patients covered by Medicare. Under the SGR formula, doctors would have been faced with a 21 percent cut in payments for treating Medicare patients, which could have led doctors to refuse to accept those patients. However, since 2003, Congress has passed a short-term “doc fix” 17 times to prevent those payment cuts from going into effect. H.R. 2 permanently repeals the SGR formula, avoiding additional “doc fixes,” providing modest, 0.5 percent increases in payments for the next five years, and transitioning to a performance-based payment formula.

To partially offset the cost of repealing the SGR formula, the bill will increase premiums for higher-income Medicare Part B and Part D participants, starting in 2018. Premiums will increase by up to 15 percent for individuals with income above $133,500 ($267,000 for a couple). It also will prohibit private “Medigap” plans from covering the Part B deductible for new beneficiaries, starting in 2020. Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) plans for federal retirees with Medicare Part B are not defined as “Medigap” plans for these purposes, and will not be affected by this provision. NARFE supports the enactment of this law.

Fed Tax Delinquency Bill Fails the House

The House failed to pass H.R. 1563, the Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act, on April 15 by a vote of 266-160. The bill was considered under a suspension of rules, which means it required a two-thirds majority for passage.

Sponsored by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-UT, H.R. 1563 aimed to prohibit any individual who is seriously delinquent on his or her federal taxes from being hired as a federal employee or to continue serving as a federal employee. The bill defined seriously delinquent tax debt as a “federal tax liability assessed by the Internal Revenue Service and collectible by levy or court proceeding.”

NARFE opposed the bill as unnecessary and misguided policy. The tax delinquency rate among federal employees in 2014 was 3.1 percent, less than half of the 8.7 percent rate among the general public. Also, the Internal Revenue Service already has tools at its disposal to ensure tax collection from federal employees. For example, the Federal Payment Levy Program allows the government to collect unpaid taxes from federal employees through wage garnishment. Firing federal employees with tax debts would only make it more difficult to collect the unpaid taxes.

Public Service Recognition Week, May 3-9, 2015

May 3-9 is Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW). Organized by the Public Employees Roundtable (PER), of which NARFE is a member, PSRW is a week set aside to honor military, federal, state, county and local government employees whose hard work has made our government the best in the world. This year’s theme is “Government Works,” which puts a spotlight on the amazing accomplishments of the men and women who dedicate their lives to public service.

More information about PSRW and how to get involved can be found at the PSRW webpage on the NARFE website and at http://publicservicerecognitionweek.org/. NARFE is encouraging its members to spread the word about PSRW and the wonderful things federal employees do for our country by sending a letter to the editor (LTE) to their local newspaper. Sample drafts and letter templates you can personalize can be found here.

Let’s take this opportunity to share with others the good work federal employees do to keep us safe and secure.

Return to April 17, 2015

Return to top news

NARFE Legislative Hotline, April 10, 2015

Message From NARFE President Richard G. Thissen

“Next week, the House and Senate will vote on a joint budget agreement that likely will ask for $318 billion in pay and benefit cuts from federal employees and retirees. I am asking every NARFE member, as well as every federal employee or retiree and every concerned citizen who cares about the effectiveness of our government, to call their members of Congress and tell them to vote ‘NO’ on the agreement. More information is below. Make the call now!”

Call Your Legislators and Tell Them to Vote No on the Budget

NARFE is asking all members to call their senators and representative to tell them to vote “No” on any joint budget resolution that includes cuts to federal employees’ and retirees’ pay and benefits. Click here for instructions on how to call in and what to say. NARFE’s toll-free number, 1-866-220-0044, is available for members to use. We expect a vote as early as WEDNESDAY, APRIL 15.

The House and Senate passed budget resolutions in March that cut billions of dollars worth of pay and benefits from federal employees and retirees. The House budget proposed $318 billion in “savings” by raising the cost of health insurance for all FEHBP participants, eliminating federal jobs, increasing retirement contributions for current employees and, perhaps most shocking, changing the rate of return on the Thrift Savings Plan G Fund. The Senate budget, while less specific in how it would cut costs, still asks the federal community for $170 billion toward deficit reduction.

This week, House and Senate budget committee chairmen Rep. Tom Price, R-GA, and Sen. Michael B. Enzi, R-WY, returned early from recess to begin discussions on drafting a joint budget agreement that is all but certain to include the same severe cuts that were included in the House and Senate resolutions. This joint budget resolution must pass both the House and Senate, and we expect a vote as early as WEDNESDAY, APRIL 15.

NOW is the time to take action, by calling and/or writing your senators and representative. NARFE members must tell their members of Congress to oppose any proposed Fiscal Year 2016 budget that would penalize the very employees whose job it is to carry out the laws they pass.

Service Recognition Week, May 3-9, 2015

May 3-9 is Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW). Organized by the Public Employees Roundtable (PER), of which NARFE is a member, PSRW is a week set aside to honor military, federal, state, county and local government employees whose hard work has made our government the best in the world. This year’s theme is “Government Works,” which puts a spotlight on the amazing accomplishments of the men and women who dedicate their lives to public service.

More information about PSRW and how to get involved can be found at the PSRW webpage on the NARFE website and at http://publicservicerecognitionweek.org/.

NARFE is encouraging its members to spread the word about PSRW and the wonderful things federal employees do for our country by sending a letter to the editor (LTE) to their local newspaper. Sample drafts and letter templates you can personalize can be found here.

Let’s take this opportunity to share with others the good work federal employees do to keep us safe and secure.

Re-employed Annuitants: We Want to Hear From You

Federal News Radio is doing a special report on the federal retirement experience and wants to hear from federal retirees who went back to work as re-employed annuitants or temporary or part-time rehires. If you are interested in speaking to Federal News Radio and sharing your story, you can email the Legislative Department at leg@narfe.org. Federal News Radio also has a retirement survey that you can take. The results of the survey will be discussed on an upcoming segment of “In Depth with Francis Rose.”

Return to April 10, 2015

Return to top news