Current Federal Employees —
NARFE is on Your Side
By Martin Wish, Chair Federal Legislative Committee, Maryland Federation
NARFE’s legislative agenda addresses numerous current federal employee issues. First and foremost, NARFE seeks to protect the earned benefits of both current employees and retirees. In protecting retirement benefits, it is also protecting the benefits that all current federal employees will enjoy when they retire.
NARFE vigorously supports and lobbies for Premium Conversion legislation. This legislation would continue into retirement the benefit that current employees have in paying health benefit premiums with pretax dollars, saving them an average of $800 a year. Currently, this benefit terminates at retirement.
NARFE lobbies actively for legislation that would repeal the Government Pension Offset and Windfall Elimination Provision which adversely affects current federal retirees by significantly reducing earned Social Security Benefits and/or spousal Social Security Benefits.
NARFE supports the proposal that would allow federal agencies to reemploy federal retirees on a limited part-time basis without offset of annuity from salary.
NARFE has consistently supported pay increase parity between federal employees and military personnel.
NARFE supports legislation to provide retiring federal employees the option of electing and paying the actuarial cost of additional survivor annuity amounts in 5% increments up to 75% of an unreduced annuity.
NARFE opposes policies on contracting out federal jobs that put employees at an unfair disadvantage in the competitive process.
NARFE is continually on guard against proposals that have surfaced, such as:
- Basing federal health benefit on years of service
- Changing from high 3 to high 4 or higher in computing retirement
- Increasing federal contributions to pension plans
- Raising retirement age, either gradually, or only for future hires or effective immediately.
- Reducing the government share of FEHBP for new retirees with less than 20 years of service.
NARFE’s legislative agenda and goals are very important for all current federal employees.
Members should be aware that the NARFE national Web site offers easy access to the latest information on legislation important to federal workers and retirees. If you want to dip your own oar into the federal legislative waters (as you should), that site makes it easy to get messages to your senators and representative on Capitol Hill. Here’s a rundown on how you can use the NARFE national Web site to start lobbying them:
Go to narfe.org. Sign in as a member by entering your last name and membership number in the boxes indicated. Once you are signed in, put the pointer on the “Special Section” box at the top of the page, which brings up a menu that includes the “Legislative Action Center.”
Click on the Action Center to bring up the latest information on NARFE legislation along with a box labeled “Take Action.” Click on that to bring up a page with a sample message you can send and step by step directions on how to do it. In addition to “Take Action,” there’s also a box where you can enter your zip code to “Find Your Officials.” That will bring up a lineup of the president, our Maryland senators and the House member that matches your zip code.
Clicking on “Info” below the photo of a senator or House member will bring up contact and other information, including “Cosponsorship Status” on NARFE’s bills. Click on that and you will get a rundown on where the member stands on our legislation and an easy procedure for sending a message via letter or e-mail.
In addition to reporting on the status of pending legislation, the NARFE site offers a wealth of information on other topics important to current or retired feds. Try it. You may like it.
- Here is NARFE’S Legislative Program for the 111th Congress (2009-2010)
Important Federal Contacts
The phone numbers and e-mail addresses of our elected officials in Washington are on page 4 of our newsletter.
Maryland General Assembly
Would you like to know what’s going on in the Maryland General Assembly? Click that link to find out.
In the News
- National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) President Margaret L. Baptiste today praised the U.S. House of Representatives for approving H.R. 1804, a bill that would allow Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) employees to credit their unused sick leave toward their retirement and that would make certain improvements to the federal Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). When Congress created FERS in 1986, allowing workers to apply their unused sick leave toward retirement was traded off for other FERS benefits not available under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). “However, with the benefit of 23 years of hindsight, we recognize that the inequity in the treatment of accrued sick leave between FERS and CSRS has hurt productivity and increased agency costs. For that reason, we strongly support the concept that all federal civilian retirement programs credit unused sick leave toward retirement,” Baptiste said. The NARFE president specifically lauded Rep. James Moran, D-VA, for itroducing his own FERS sick leave equity bill (H.R. 958) and for being a long-time champion of the issue. She also praised Rep. Edolphus Towns, D-NY, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-MA, chairman of the Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce, and their colleagues for approving the bill and sending it to the floor on March 18. Baptiste also thanked Chairman Lynch for clarifying, during House consideration of H.R. 1804, that the FERS sick leave provision would not result in an “unfunded obligation” to the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund (CSRDF) since current law provides that new payments from the CSRDF are fully funded. In fact, a revenue-generating proposal in the bill, to add a “Roth” tax-treatment option to the TSP, produced enough savings to pay for the FERS sick leave proposal as well as other new spending contained in the legislation. In addition, Baptiste said that her association supports a provision in H.R. 1804 that would automatically enroll newly-hired federal employees in the TSP and make them eligible to receive an immediate matching contribution from their employing agency. “This initiative will increase the percentage of federal employees who make use of the TSP to ensure they are better prepared for their retirement,” she said. Moreover, NARFE supports adding a “Roth” option to the TSP that would allow participants to make after-tax contributions to the plan and withdraw their earnings tax-free upon retirement. “Federal employees would want this feature so that they would have the same options available to private sector workers in some 401 (k) plans,” Baptiste remarked. “House passage of this bill is a victory for federal workers and we commend Chairmen Towns and Lynch and Rep. Moran for their interest in eliminating the FERS inequity and for making improvements in the TSP that will help federal workers enhance their retirement planning,” she added.
- Federal Reserve bans inflated home appraisals and other abusive practices that led to the housing bubble and today’s foreclosure crisis. Lenders must not only document income on subprime loans to eliminate the fraudulent practice of lying about income, but determine whether borrowers can afford loans with balloon payments and allow borrowers to refinance loans without penalty before the payments reset. Fed forbids “liar loans”
- Lloyd W. Miner, 49, of Centreville, former assistant chief in the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security, was convicted in Alexandria on two felony counts of harboring an illegal alien and encouraging and inducing an illegal to reside in the United States. The illegal alien, a native of Mongolia, also was convicted of conspiracy to commit fraud with identification documents. The case against Miner began last year with the investigation of former Homeland Security supervisor Robert Schofield, who pleaded guilty last year to accepting cash bribes in exchange for creating phony visas, green cards and citizenship documents. Schofield was sentenced to 15 years in prison and ordered to pay the government $3.1 million. Immigration official guilty in alien fraud
- After months of congressional pressure, the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General has opened an investigation of an Army general who tried to bring murder charges against U.S. troops. The investigation was requested by Rep. Walter B. Jones, North Carolina Republican. Mr. Jones had written to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, saying “Lieutenant General Frank Kearney directed that charges be brought against these two American heroes despite the fact that the two soldiers were exonerated by the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command.” General accused of overreach on killings
- Congressional Links
- Federal Agencies
- Federal Employees News Digest
- Federal Times
- Google News
- NARFE Legislative Action Center
- NARFE Maryland Federation
- NARFE National Headquarters
- OPM: Federal Retirement Benefits
- Richmond Times-Dispatch
- Senior Journal
- Social Security
- Track Legislation on Capitol Hill
- U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board
- USA Today
- Wall Street Journal
- Washington Post
- Washington Times
- The White House
This page was updated 16 October 2010.