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NEWS:

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.

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NARFE Headquarters, April 22, 2016

Message from NARFE President Richard G. Thissen

“Public Service Recognition Week, a time dedicated to celebrating the great work of public employees, is quickly approaching. Talking about your own work and the important contributions federal employees make to the nation’s well-being helps garner respect for the federal community. To prepare for PSRW, today’s Hotline includes several opportunities to share your story, including a survey that has received 4,000 NARFE member responses in two days! Take action to make your voice heard below.”

Public Service Recognition Week Is Less than Two Weeks Away!

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.

Share Your WEP Story

As NARFE continues its outreach and lobbying in support of H.R. 711, a bill to reform the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), the Legislative Department distributed a survey to gather information from members who have been personally affected by the WEP.

This survey does not relate to the Government Pension Offset (GPO), which affects spousal Social Security benefits. Please answer the survey questions ONLY if you are affected by the WEP.

Click here to access the survey. Thanks to the almost 4,000 NARFE members who have already taken the survey!

Additionally, NARFE has a letter-to-the-editor template members can submit to their local newspapers in support of H.R. 711 here. Members also can send a letter asking their representative to cosponsor H.R. 711 or expressing thanks if he or she already has cosponsored the bill, here. Don't forget to personalize both!

House Committee Advances Resolution of Disapproval of DOL Conflict of Interest Rule

On April 21, the House Education and the Workforce Committee approved a resolution of disapproval, H.J. Res. 88, 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 is still subject to a presidential veto. The resolution was approved by the House committee along party lines, with 22 Republicans voting in favor, and 14 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 committee to oppose the resolution of disapproval.

The full House is expected to vote on the resolution late next week. While it is expected to pass the House, it is unclear what its prospects are in the Senate. Regardless, even if passed by the Senate, it is not expected to survive a presidential veto.

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.

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NARFE Headquarters, April 15, 2016

Message from NARFE President Richard G. Thissen

“NARFE was disappointed to learn late last week that rates will increase this year in the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program. At this point, we do not know the exact increase. The information we do know is summarized below. We are staying on top of this unfortunate development and discussing the negative impact with the involved parties, including members of Congress.”

Long-Term Care Rates to Increase

It was announced last week that Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP) rates will increase this year. Current enrollees in the program, which provides coverage to help pay for the cost of care when an individual needs assistance with everyday activities or suffers from severe cognitive impairment, such as Alzheimer’s disease, can expect rates to rise substantially. The rate change, which is currently being finalized, will take effect no earlier than fall 2016.

The rate increase occurs after the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) awarded a new, seven-year contract to John Hancock Life and Health Insurance Co. to underwrite and administer the program. John Hancock was the only company that submitted a bid.

Long Term Care Partners, a division of John Hancock that administers FLTCIP, will send every current enrollee a letter prior to the effective date of the premium increases, explaining benefit options that could help mitigate the higher rates. NARFE will keep its members informed as more details become available.

WEP Letter to the Editor Available

NARFE has created a letter to the editor (LTE) template that members can send to their local newspapers in support of H.R. 711, legislation to reform the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). NARFE members can send an LTE here. Members can also send a letter to their member of Congress asking them to support the bill or thanking them for their cosponsorship, here.

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.

Consumer Prices Increase in March

Relevant to the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to civil service annuities for 2017, the March 2016 Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) is 232.209, a one-month increase of 0.54 percent. The March CPI-W figure is 0.87 percent lower than the average CPI-W for the third quarter of 2014, which was 234.242. Because there was no COLA in 2016, the 2014 third-quarter average will be the reference figure for determining the 2017 COLA. Of interest to individuals receiving benefits under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA), the March CPI-W figure is 0.61 percent higher than the December 2015 CPI-W figure. For NARFE’s full COLA update, click here.

Public Service Recognition Week Is Less than Three Weeks Away!

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.

Registration for 2016 NARFE National Convention Now Open

Registration for the 34th Biennial NARFE National Convention is now open! This year’s convention will be held in Reno, NV, August 28-September 1. NARFE members will meet to set the Association’s legislative agenda for the next Congress, elect new officers and make major decisions that will determine the future course of NARFE. This year’s theme is “Progress. Protect. Persevere.”

You can register on the convention website. The registration fee for all convention attendees is $99 if paid before August 1. More information about fees and the convention agenda can be found on the convention website. Questions about registration should be submitted here or by calling 703-838-7760.

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.

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