Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Local and Family History Department
McCracken Public Library

Pictures of Chapter 1587 Members

 Taking a break

Marshall County Chapter 1587

Marshall County Chapter 1587 of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association met at the McCracken County Public Library in Paducah, KY.

Joe Horcher Chapter President asked Tom Crider to say a prayer; Joe Horcher led us in The Pledge of Allegiance.

Chapter President Joe Horcher introduced our speaker; Nathen Lynn, Local and Family History Historian at the McCracken County Public Library. Nathen  gave us a short History of Prominent people in the city of Paducah and the use of the facilities at the McCracken County Public Library.

 Listening to Nathen Lynn

Sunday, June 17, 2018

NARFE Legislative Hotline June 15, 2018

Message from NARFE President Richard G. Thissen:

“President Trump’s proposed pay freeze unfairly singles out the federal workforce at a time of economic strength and rising private sector wages. If Congress does not act, the president’s proposed pay freeze will keep federal pay stagnant after many years of pay freezes and minimized pay increases. NARFE members should join me in continuing to contact Congress and urge them to enact a federal pay raise through the appropriations process.”

NARFE President Requests a Pay Raise for Federal Employees

This week, NARFE President Richard G. Thissen sent a letter to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-NJ, requesting that his committee appropriate a 2019 pay raise for federal employees commensurate to pay increases in the private sector. Specifically, Thissen’s letter requests that a pay increase be included in the fiscal year 2019 (FY19) Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill.

When the House Appropriations Committee considered the legislation, it approved an amendment put forth by Rep. Dave Joyce, R-OH, which requires the U.S. Postal Service to maintain the service standards that were in place as of July 1, 2012, for first-class mail. However, the committee failed to take action regarding civilian federal pay, and the legislation remains silent on a pay raise, setting the stage for the president to implement a pay freeze next year. NARFE members need to make themselves heard before this bill goes to the House floor for debate and a final vote. Please contact your legislators using the NARFE Legislative Action Center and urge them to reject the president’s unfair federal pay freeze and appropriate a modest, deserved pay raise for the federal workforce.

The president’s proposed pay freeze will only go into effect if Congress remains silent. We cannot allow the administration to single out the federal workforce while private-sector wages rise and the economy is growing, especially following congressional approval of a 2.6 percent pay raise for members of the military. It is crucial that NARFE members continue to contact their legislators, urging them to reject the president’s proposed pay freeze and enact a modest pay raise for the federal workforce.

Senators Oppose Administration’s Proposed Cuts

On June 13, 26 Democratic senators wrote a letter to Office of Personnel Management Director Jeff Pon in opposition to the proposed $143 billion in cuts to federal retiree pay and benefits included in the director’s May 4 letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan.

The senators call upon Director Pon to avoid such cuts, “and instead commit to comprehensive reforms that modernize our government’s compensation system in a way that encourages the best and brightest talent to join the ranks of our dedicated civil servants.” They maintain that Pon’s proposed cuts would negatively impact active and retired federal employees financially as well as hamper the government’s ability to recruit and retain top talent.

The proposed cuts in Pon’s original letter include: the elimination of the FERS Annuity Supplement, calculating retirement annuities using the highest five years of pay instead of three; increasing FERS employees’ contributions to their retirement benefits without any corresponding increase in benefits, which is essentially a pay cut; and the reduction and even elimination of federal annuity cost-of-living-adjustments (COLAs), which are vital to protect the value of earned federal annuities from eroding through inflation.

Other members of Congress, from both sides of the aisle, have expressed strong opposition to the cuts proposed in OPM Director Pon’s letter. For example, recently, Reps. Rob Wittman, R-VA, and Michael Turner, R-OH, have written letters in opposition to the Administration’s proposed cuts as well.

Please click here to access the NARFE Legislative Action Center and push your own representatives to oppose any cuts to the earned pay and benefits of the federal community. If your congressional representatives have already expressed opposition, you should edit the letter to thank them for their support.

House GOP Members Request Reversal of Recent Executive Orders

On June 11, a group of 21 House Republicans sent a letter to President Trump requesting that he rescind his three executive orders issued May 25 regarding the discipline and removal of federal employees, federal employee union use of official time and collective bargaining. They emphasize that the three executive orders run contrary to existing labor laws and will weaken vital protections for federal employees.

In the letter, these members of Congress urge the president to “uphold the current law and long-standing federal labor statutes that protect America’s civil service from discrimination, unfair treatment and sexual harassment.” They further stress the importance of management and labor working collaboratively in order to work at peak performance and deliver public services while maintaining a fair workplace. As one of the largest employers in the country and a steward of taxpayer dollars, the authors believe the federal government must serve as a model employer. The letter argues that undermining employee protections will only diminish the ability of federal employees to deliver quality public services to the American people. They further believe that the executive orders in question run contrary to the principles and checks and balances in the federal workplace that are protected by law.

Several lawsuits have been filed to stop implementation of the orders. NARFE is closely monitoring any action stemming from the orders.

Grassroots Corner

Did you recently attend a congressional town hall, community event or meeting on behalf of NARFE? Please complete the Congressional Meeting or Event Feedback Form after any interaction with legislators and staff. When you complete this form, which is located on NARFE’s advocacy page under “Surveys,” your interactions are recognized by the Advocacy Department staff and ultimately help ensure that NARFE's lobbyists echo your message on Capitol Hill. Your dedication to NARFE and advancing our legislative agenda is appreciated. 

Obtaining the Hotline

This weekly advocacy message is emailed to NARFE members, posted on the NARFE website and available to NARFE members via telephone by calling 1-800-456-8410 and selecting option 4. Past editions are archived online for NARFE member access. If you have any questions regarding the information in this Hotline, please email NARFE’s Advocacy Department at advocacy@narfe.org or call 1-800-456-8410 and select option 3.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

A Letter to Congress

You send action letters and make phone calls. But do you feel your concerns are falling on deaf ears in your legislators’ offices?

I send my letter to our local paper. 
I Place my letter online. 

I tell my Congressmen where the letter went. President, Senator, Representative, local paper and online.

Friday, June 8, 2018

NARFE Legislative Hotline June 8, 2018

Message from NARFE President Richard G. Thissen:

“This week, POLITICO released a story on the White House’s plan for a large-scale reorganization of the federal government. Major changes are expected to take place at many agencies. As of now, the specifics of this plan are expected to emerge later this month. NARFE will be monitoring this very closely and we will relay information to our members as soon as the details are released.”

Social Security and Medicare Face Projected Insolvency

This week, the Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees released the 2018 annual reports for both programs. According to the new reports, Social Security and Medicare are both on a path to long-term financial shortfalls based on scheduled benefits and financing projections. The Boards of Trustees release reports on the current and projected financial status of Social Security and Medicare on an annual basis. They call for action sooner rather than later to minimize any negative impacts on beneficiaries and taxpayers. Solutions will likely take the form of benefits cuts, increased payroll taxes or a combination of both.

Social Security is composed of two trust funds: the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund (OASI) and the Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Fund. OASI pays retirement and survivors’ benefits and DI pays disability benefits. Medicare is also composed of two separate trust funds: the Hospital Insurance (HI) Trust Fund and the Supplementary Medical Insurance (SMI) Trust Fund. HI, also known as Medicare Part A, helps seniors and the disabled pay for hospital stays and care from nursing facilities. SMI is more familiarly known as Medicare Parts B and D. Part B helps pay for outpatient care and Part D helps pay for prescription drugs.

The reports claim that the threat of Social Security and Medicare insolvency is a consequence of an aging population as the baby-boomer generation reaches retirement as well as lower-birth-rate generations entering the workforce, which leads to a slower growth of the labor force. Social Security’s total cost is anticipated to surpass total income in 2018, requiring the government to utilize trust fund money to pay scheduled benefits. This would be the first time this occurred since 1982. DI reserves are projected to be depleted in 2032 and OASI reserves in 2034. The Trustees project that HI will reach depletion by year 2026. After these funds reach depletion, the government will no longer be able to cover the total costs of scheduled benefits and will only be able to cover a portion with dedicated revenues. In the case of SMI, Medicare Parts B and D, the Trustees project adequate financing for the indefinite future since the law provides for financing from general revenues as well as beneficiary premiums each year to meet the next year’s expected costs. However, SMI costs are expected to increase significantly as a percentage of GDP through 2092.

In response to the Social Security Board of Trustees Report, the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security recently held a hearing titled, "Hearing on Examining Social Security’s Solvency Challenge: The Status of the Social Security’s Trust Funds." The subcommittee invited Stephen C. Goss, Chief Actuary of the Social Security Administration, as its witness. The subcommittee explored the contents of the recent Social Security report as well as potential solutions to the condition of Social Security’s trust funds. Ranking Member Larson raised the issue of Social Security cost-of-living-adjustments (COLAs) and the importance of reflecting the actual costs seniors face. Larson advocated for the usage of CPI-E in the calculation of Social Security COLAs, which would more accurately reflect the costs confronting retirees. Federal annuities COLAs were not mentioned. Committee members agreed that there is an immediate need to act on the threat of Social Security insolvency.

House Passes Minibus Appropriations Bill

This week the House of Representatives passed its first spending bill for fiscal year 2019 (FY19). Three spending bills were considered as a consolidated piece of legislation: the Energy and Water Development, Legislative Branch and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, H.R.5895. The consolidated package of spending bills provides for a total of $145.4 billion in discretionary funding for FY19. When broken down by individual spending bills, H.R. 5895 appropriates $44.7 billion for the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, $3.8 billion for the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, which excludes Senate-only functions, and $96.9 billion in discretionary funding for the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act. The Department of Veterans Affairs specifically was given $85.3 billion in funding.

Grassroots Corner

Did you miss the May 29 Advocacy Webinar, “Are You Getting Your Legislators’ Attention?” You can still watch a recording of the webinar by clicking here. Through this webinar you will learn the most effective strategies to influence your legislators on issues affecting the federal community. Chances are you might be doing something that could detract from your message – or not doing something that could be very helpful. Discover all this and more through the most recent Advocacy Webinar hosted by NARFE's Grassroots Program Manager Molly Checksfield. 

Obtaining the Hotline

This weekly advocacy message is emailed to NARFE members, posted on the NARFE website and available to NARFE members via telephone by calling 1-800-456-8410 and selecting option 4. Past editions are archived online for NARFE member access. If you have any questions regarding the information in this Hotline, please email NARFE’s Advocacy Department at advocacy@narfe.org or call 1-800-456-8410 and select option 3.