Message from NARFE President Richard G. Thissen
“President Trump’s budget calls for $152.5 billion in cuts to earned federal pay and benefits, going so far as to eliminate cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for current retirees and hamstring current workers who are just years away from retirement. During his first year in office, the president consistently touted the strong economy, yet this budget would deny America’s federal community even a modest share of this economic prosperity. We must ensure that these cuts do not find their way into congressional budgets or other pieces of legislation. NARFE members should contacttheir legislators and tell them to reject these unprecedented cuts and any attempts to reduce the earned pay and benefits of the federal community.”
President’s Budget Targets Federal Workers and Retirees
The president’s recently released fiscal year 2019 budget contains hundreds of billions in cuts that target the earned pay and benefits of the federal community in a time of economic prosperity and rising wage growth. NARFE members should contact their lawmakers today and tell them to reject these cuts, as they could be used in the budget or other pieces of legislation. Easily send a letter to your legislators here. Want to be an even stronger advocate? Select the Twitter and phone icons on the same page to find a sample tweet and call script.
Specifically, the president’s budget targets the retirement security of current federal retirees by reducing or eliminating cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs), leaving retirees insufficiently protected from rising inflation and increasing health care premiums. Current and future retirees under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) would see their COLAs reduced by 0.5 percent each year, while retirees under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) would see their COLAs eliminated altogether.
Federal employees covered by FERS would see employee contributions to their annuities increase by 1 percent each year for the next six years, without any corresponding benefit increase. This amounts to a 6 percent pay cut for current workers and would increase the gap between public- and private-sector pay. On top of this, the president also proposed a pay freeze in calendar year 2019 for current workers.
The president’s budget also takes aim at those who are nearing retirement by eliminating the FERS Annuity Supplement for new retirees, including those forced to retire early, like federal law enforcement officers. On top of this, new retiree pensions would be based on the average of the highest five years of salary instead of the highest three.
Further proposals targeting Feds included limiting the rate of return on the Thrift Savings Plan Government Securities Investment (G) Fund, decreasing total paid time off by combining sick and annual leave into one pool and reducing working and retirement-age benefits for federal workers disabled through their service.
All told, these proposals would take away $152.5 billion in earned benefits from the federal community and would break implicit promises made to those who proudly served their nation. NARFE members must contact their legislators if we are to be successful in fighting off these unprecedented cuts.
OPM Director Nominee Approved by Senate Committee
After several months of delay, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) moved forward with the president’s nominee for Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Jeff Tien Han Pon. The committee voted en bloc to send Pon’s nomination to the full Senate for final confirmation.
Pon testified before HSGAC in October 2017, where he answered questions on areas he would like to see improved at OPM. During that hearing, Pon expressed concern with OPM’s retirement claims backlog and the slow pace of federal hiring, and advocated for greater agency-wide efficiency.
Pon most recently served as the chief human resources and strategy officer for the Society for Human Resource Management, but also has federal experience from his time as deputy director of eGovernment at OPM and as chief human capital officer at the Energy Department.
As of press time, the Senate has yet to schedule a vote on Pon’s final confirmation.
Hotline on an As-Needed Basis until March 2
Due to next week’s congressional recess, the Hotline will be published on an as-needed basis until March 2.
Make Your Voice Heard in Congress
NARFE members are encouraged to use the NARFE Legislative Action Center to quickly and easily send letters to members of Congress on a variety of NARFE issues, sign up for action alerts and track NARFE-related bills and votes.
Have you attended a meeting, town hall or telephone town hall with your senator(s) or representative recently? Fill out a simple feedback form here in the Action Center to tell NARFE’s advocacy staff the details of your legislator’s stance on NARFE issues.
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 email@example.com or call 1-800-456-8410 and select option 3.