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, February 6, 2015

Message From NARFE President Richard G. Thissen

“This week, President Obama announced his budget proposal for the next fiscal year. The good news: It proposed a 1.3 percent pay raise for federal employees. The bad news: That still lags behind the average private-sector pay increase for last year by 1 percent. NARFE will continue to press Congress and the President to provide federal pay increases in line with private-sector pay increases.”

President’s Budget Proposal for FY16

President Obama this week sent Congress his fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget. It proposed a 1.3 percent pay raise for federal employees starting in January 2016. This represents a reduced pay raise when compared to the 2.3 percent increase in the Employment Cost Index (ECI) from 2013 to 2014. The ECI measures private-sector pay and is supposed to serve as a baseline for federal pay increases. This is the third straight year the President’s budget has proposed a reduced pay raise, following a three-year federal pay freeze. NARFE supports House and Senate bills seeking a 3.8 percent pay raise.

On a positive note, the FY16 budget did not include a switch to the Chained CPI or an increase in retirement contributions for current federal employees. While neither of these proposals was included in the FY15 budget, they were included as recently as the FY14 budget.

You can read NARFE’s press release on the President’s budget here.

Edwards Reintroduces the Federal Employee Pension Fairness Act

Also this week, Rep. Donna Edward, D-MD, reintroduced the Federal Employee Pension Fairness Act (H.R. 785), which would repeal the increased pension contribution requirement for new federal employees. In 2013, newly hired federal employees began to pay 2.3 percent more towards their retirement than their previously hired colleagues without any increase in benefits. In 2014, new hires began to contribute another 1.3 percent, or 3.6 percent more than those hired before 2013. This steady increase in contributions results in a significant decrease in take-home pay, putting a financial strain on federal employees and their families. NARFE supports H.R. 785. NARFE's press release on the bill can read here.

NARFE'S New Legislative Action Center

NARFE’s Legislative Action Center has gotten a facelift. The new, streamlined site still allows you to follow NARFE’s legislative priorities and write letters to your members of Congress, but also provides background information on each issue. The new site is easier to forward to friends and family to encourage them to take action on NARFE’s issues. We encourage NARFE members to visit and become familiar with the site. While there, send your legislators a letter asking them to support the FAIR Act (or thanking them for doing so). The new Legislative Action Center continues to be updated, and we encourage questions or comments. Email them to leg@narfe.org.

Resources for State Legislative Advocacy

NARFE’s Legislative Action Center now includes a State Advocacy module where you will find useful information and links to empowering web-based resources. One of the best ways to wade into state legislative advocacy is to view or read your governor’s state of the state address. Governing.com provides a gateway to the video and text of these speeches. Both the THOMAS system at the Library of Congress and MultiState.com provide gateways to the websites of state and territorial legislatures. Experiment with these sources and then volunteer to assist your chapter’s State Legislative Officer or contact your federation president.

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NARFE Legislative Hotline, January 23, 2015

Message From NARFE President Richard G. Thissen

“Time is running out to register for NARFE’s Legislative Training Conference. This is NARFE’s premier conference, where you will learn more about NARFE’s legislative agenda, hear from nationally renowned speakers and meet with your legislators and their staff on Capitol Hill. More information is below. I hope to see you there!"

2015 NARFE Legislative Training Conference

NARFE is hosting its biennial Legislative Training Conference in Arlington, VA, March 14-17. Join NARFE members from across the country for the opportunity to hear from national speakers, have hands-on training, receive updated legislative briefings and to network with NARFE leaders. The conference will end with a trip to Capitol Hill, where you can meet with legislators and their staff to discuss the issues facing NARFE members. February 3 is the final day to register and reserve your hotel, so don’t delay. For more information, check out our Legislative Training Conference page here. From there, you can register online or mail in a registration form. Questions? Email the Legislative Department at leg@narfe.org. We hope to see you there!

Paid Sick Leave for Wounded Veterans

Serving as Federal Employees Proposed Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, D-MA, introduced H.R. 313, the Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act of 2015, which is similar to the bill he introduced last Congress. Under the legislation, service-disabled veterans employed by the federal government will begin their jobs with 104 hours of paid sick time for medical leave as a result of their injuries. This will make it easier for wounded veterans to schedule medical appointments and keep up with their rehabilitation from service-related injuries. The additional leave will expire after at the end of their first year of employment. NARFE supports this bipartisan bill, which currently has six cosponsors.

Lummis Introduces Bill to Shrink the Federal Workforce

Rep. Cynthia Lummis, R-WY, introduced H.R. 417, a bill that would require a reduction in the number of federal employees, shrinking the federal workforce by 10 percent over the next five years. The reduction would be achieved through attrition by imposing a hiring freeze on any agency exceeding a limit of one new hire for every three departing employees. Although the bill’s sponsor claims the measure would save the federal government $35 billion without changes in appropriations, it would result in the remaining workforce having to do more with fewer employees. NARFE opposes the proposal.

Update on Tax Form 1099-R

Each year, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) sends form 1099-R, Statement Annuity Paid, to both retirees and survivors for use in filing income tax returns. OPM will print and mail these forms to annuitants who have not signed up to receive them electronically, in time to be received by January 31. Many retirees and survivors are using OPM’s Services Online to view and print their forms. OPM is currently updating the site to have the 2014 forms available by January 31. Until the site becomes available, those who need a duplicate form 1099-R for prior years will have to make a request either by calling 1-888-767-6738 or by emailing OPM at retire@opm.gov.

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NARFE Legislative Hotline, January 16, 2015

Message From NARFE President Richard G. Thissen

“It was another busy week for NARFE legislatively. We worked closely with Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia and Sen. Schatz of Hawaii on legislation they introduced providing federal employees an adequate pay raise in 2016. I was proud to endorse that proposal on behalf of NARFE. Additionally, President Obama issued a memorandum directing federal agencies to advance their employees six weeks of sick leave after the birth or adoption of a child. While NARFE supports full paid parental leave, the President’s action is a good first step.”

Legislation Introduced to Provide a 3.8% Raise for Feds

Earlier this week, Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, D-VA, introduced H.R. 304, the Federal Adjustment of Income Rates (FAIR) Act, which will provide federal employees with a 3.8 percent pay raise in 2016. Sens. Brian Schatz, D-HI, and Benjamin L. Cardin, D-MD, introduced the companion bill, S. 164, in the Senate. The legislation comes on the heels of a 1 percent raise for federal employees in each of the past two years, preceded by a three-year pay freeze. With the wage gap expanding between private- and public-sector jobs, a 3.8 percent raise will better allow the federal government to stay competitive and attract the best workers.

The Federal-Postal Coalition, which NARFE chairs, sent letters of support to Connolly and Schatz, which can be found on the NARFE website. The NARFE press release on the bill’s introduction can be found here.

Presidential

Memorandum on Parental Leave

President Obama issued a memorandum on Thursday directing federal agencies to advance up to six weeks of paid sick leave for employees upon the birth or adoption of a child. He also is pushing Congress to pass legislation that would provide federal employees with six weeks of paid parental leave. The federal government currently offers no paid parental leave when many private-sector companies do, and the United States is the only industrialized country without a paid parental leave policy. NARFE supports the President’s action as a push toward a more family-friendly work environment for federal employees, which will help retain our nation’s best and brightest.

State of the Union 2015

On Tuesday, January 20, President Obama will speak before a joint session of Congress to give his State of the Union address. Given annually, the address provides the President a forum in which to outline his legislative agenda and his priorities for the coming year. His address will be broadcast live.

2015 NARFE Legislative Training Conference

NARFE is hosting its biennial Legislative Training Conference in Arlington, VA, March 14-17. Join NARFE members from across the country for hands-on training opportunities to learn how to become a more effective NARFE advocate. The conference will end with a trip to Capitol Hill, where you can meet with legislators and their staff to discuss the issues facing NARFE members. February 3 is the final day to register, so don’t delay. For more information, check out our Legislative Training Conference page here. From there, you can register online or mail in a registration form. Questions? Email the Legislative Department at leg@narfe.org. We hope to see you there!

Resources for State Legislative Advocacy

January and February are the peak months for state legislative sessions. All but three are already in session or will be shortly. Eighteen state governors have delivered their State of the State Address. View yours on the C-SPAN Video Archive or read the full text. You can also query a database to track state legislation. Then volunteer to help your chapter or federation officers keep NARFE members informed and engaged.

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