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, May 20, 2016

Message from NARFE President Richard G. Thissen

“This week, NARFE joined other federal employee and management organizations in support of merit-based service principles. We also continued to push for WEP reform. Read more below on how you can help support that effort, and more.”

NARFE Joins Coalition Partners to Oppose Veterans First Act

On May 18, NARFE joined its coalition partners to send a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, opposing provisions of the so-called “Veterans First Act,” a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reform bill.

The bill would undermine due process and merit-based service protections for VA employees and allow undue political influence over the workforce. While the bill would apply only to VA employees, this sets a dangerous precedent for the larger federal workforce.

TSP Withdrawal Options Webinar Is Less Than a Week Away!

Do you want to learn more about your Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) withdrawal options? Then join NARFE for a one-hour webinar and one-hour Q&A session on Thursday, May 26, at 2 p.m. ET. The webinar will be hosted by Tammy Flanagan, a widely recognized federal benefits and retirement expert, as part of the NARFE Federal Benefits Institute.

The webinar is free to all NARFE members and available to nonmembers for $39.95, which includes a one-year membership to NARFE. Members who would like to participate must register here prior to the webinar.

All NARFE Federal Benefits Institute webinars are archived here for member access.

Template Letters to the Editor Available

NARFE currently has two letter-to-the-editor (LTE) templates available for members to send to their local newspapers.

The first is in support of H.R. 711, legislation to reform the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). NARFE members can send this LTE here.  Thank you to those who already have submitted LTEs; we’ve seen more than 15 published thus far.

H.R. 711 would reform, but not repeal, the WEP. It would reduce the WEP penalty by an estimated 50 percent for individuals who turn age 62 before 2017. For individuals who turn 62 in or after 2017, the bill would replace the current WEP formula with a fairer one, saving most individuals about $77 per month. A summary of H.R. 711 can be found here. Members also can send a letter to their members of Congress, asking them to support the bill or thanking them for their cosponsorship, here.

The second LTE is in support of H.R. 532 and S. 2033, legislation to provide paid parental leave to federal employees. NARFE members can send this LTE here.

The legislation would provide federal employees six weeks of paid leave for the birth or adoption of a child. NARFE supports federal paid parental leave as a way to help the government retain good employees and recruit top talent. Members also can send a letter to their members of Congress, asking them to support the bill or thanking them for their cosponsorship, here.

Consumer Prices Increase in April

Relevant to the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to civil service annuities for 2017, the April 2016 Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) is 233.438, a one-month increase of 0.53 percent. The April CPI-W figure is 0.34 percent lower than the average CPI-W for the third quarter of 2014, which, because there was no COLA in 2016, is the reference figure for determining the 2017 COLA. Whether there will be a COLA in 2017 will not be determined until October, when the July, August and September CPI-W numbers are available.

Of interest to individuals receiving benefits under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA), the April CPI-W figure is 1.15 percent higher than the December 2015 CPI-W figure.

You can access NARFE’s full COLA update here.

Make Your Voice Heard in Congress

NARFE members are encouraged to use the Legislative Action Center to easily send letters to members of Congress on a variety of NARFE issues. Members also can track NARFE-related bills and votes and see how their legislators voted.

Return to May 20, 2016

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NARFE Headquarters, May 13, 2016

Message from NARFE President Richard G. Thissen

“Thank you to all those who helped make Public Service Recognition Week a success last week. A proclamation honoring public servants was issued by the President; a resolution passed in the Senate and was introduced in the House; and state and local governments across the country recognized public servants in various ways. Thank you also to the NARFE members who submitted letters to the editor to their local newspapers, recognizing the important work of public employees. We were happy to see more than 25 letters published.”

House Committee Holds Postal Hearing

On May 11, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing titled “Reforming the Postal Service: Finding a Viable Solution” that focused on finding a way forward on postal reform. Diverging interests and viewpoints have prevented Congress from considering large-scale postal reform the last few years.

Lawmakers at the hearing announced the House hopes to release a bipartisan, smaller scale postal reform bill soon that includes areas of agreement and excludes more controversial issues. A larger postal reform bill was introduced last year in the Senate, the Improving Postal Operations, Services and Transparency (iPost) Act, S. 2051, which has not moved forward in the legislative process. NARFE opposes the bill because it requires postal retirees to enroll in Medicare as a condition of continued receipt of retiree health insurance benefits and includes cuts to the compensation benefits of injured federal workers across the federal government.

In advance of the hearing, NARFE National President Richard G. Thissen sent a letter to the committee to be entered into the record. The letter explains the reform provisions NARFE supports and opposes.

You can watch the full hearing here.

Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive Is Saturday, May 14

The Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, sponsored annually by the National Association of Letter Carriers, is this Saturday, May 14. NARFE members are encouraged to collect and bag nonperishable food items and leave the bag by their mailbox on Saturday for pickup by their letter carriers.

The Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is the nation’s largest single-day food drive. Last year, almost 71 million pounds of food were collected to help restock food banks, pantries and shelters around the country.

Learn more about the food drive here.

Template Letters to the Editor Available

NARFE currently has two letter-to-the-editor (LTE) templates available for members to send to their local newspapers.

The first is in support of H.R. 711, legislation to reform the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). NARFE members can send this LTE here.  Thank you to those who already have submitted LTEs; we’ve seen more than 15 published thus far.

H.R. 711 would reform, but not repeal, the WEP. It would reduce the WEP penalty by an estimated 50 percent for individuals who turn age 62 before 2017. For individuals who turn 62 in or after 2017, the bill would replace the current WEP formula with a fairer one, saving most individuals about $77 per month. A summary of H.R. 711 can be found here. Members also can send a letter to their members of Congress, asking them to support the bill or thanking them for their cosponsorship, here.

The second LTE is in support of H.R. 532 and S. 2033, legislation to provide paid parental leave to federal employees. NARFE members can send this LTE here.

The legislation would provide federal employees six weeks of paid leave for the birth or adoption of a child. NARFE supports federal paid parental leave as a way to help the government retain good employees and recruit top talent. Members also can send a letter to their members of Congress, asking them to support the bill or thanking them for their cosponsorship, here.

Make Your Voice Heard in Congress

NARFE members are encouraged to use the Legislative Action Center to easily send letters to members of Congress on a variety of NARFE issues. Members also can track NARFE-related bills and votes and see how their legislators voted.

Return to May 13, 2016

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NARFE Headquarters, April 29, 2016

Message from NARFE President Richard G. Thissen

“As Public Service Recognition Week begins next week, I express my gratitude to all NARFE members – and the entire federal community – for their service to the nation. I am continually humbled to learn of the numerous ways NARFE members serve the public and improve our government without fanfare. Whether you are a federal employee or retiree, thank you for your service and contributions to our country.”

Public Service Recognition Week Is Next Week!

Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW) will be celebrated May 1-7. The week-long event, sponsored annually by NARFE and other member organizations of the Public Employees Roundtable, honors the millions of men and women who serve our nation as federal, state, county and local government employees.

NARFE members can participate by submitting a letter to the editor to their local newspaper, recognizing the great work federal employees do for our country. A template letter that should be personalized and can easily be sent to your newspaper is available on NARFE’s website, here.

For a full list of ways to celebrate, including information on the Public Service 5K run/walk held in Washington, DC, visit the PSRW website.

House Passes Resolution of Disapproval of DOL Conflict of Interest Rule

On April 28, the House of Representatives passed a resolution of disapproval that would block the Department of Labor’s final conflict of interest rule. Under the Congressional Review Act, regulations are subject to expedited legislative review, and Congress has 60 days to disapprove of (and invalidate) a new rule or regulation. However, the resolution, H.J. Res. 88, is still subject to a presidential veto. The resolution was approved by the House along party lines, with 234 Republicans voting in favor and 183 Democrats voting against.

NARFE opposes the resolution and supports the rule, which will require financial professionals who provide retirement investment advice to put their clients’ best interests ahead of their own financial interests. In advance of the vote, NARFE joined 46 other national organizations in a letter urging members of the House to oppose the resolution of disapproval.

With House passage, the bill will be sent to the Senate for consideration. It is unclear whether the resolution will have enough votes to proceed. However, even if passed by the Senate, it is not expected to survive a presidential veto.

Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive Is May 14

The Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, sponsored annually by the National Association of Letter Carriers, is May 14. NARFE members are encouraged to collect and bag nonperishable food items and leave the bag by their mailbox on Saturday, May 14, for pickup by their letter carriers.

The Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is the nation’s largest single-day food drive. Last year, almost 71 million pounds of food were collected to help restock food banks, pantries and shelters around the country. Learn more about the food drive here.

Congress in Recess, No Legislative Hotline May 6

The House and Senate are in recess until the week of May 9. Consequently, the Hotline will not be published next week. It will return to its regular schedule on Friday, May 13.

Make Your Voice Heard in Congress

NARFE members are encouraged to use the Legislative Action Center to easily send letters to members of Congress on a variety of NARFE issues. Members also can track NARFE-related bills and votes and see how their legislators voted.

Return to April 29, 2016

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