GEMS

NARFE Global Email Messaging System (GEMS)
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NARFE Legislative Hotline - January 13, 2012

MESSAGE FROM NARFE PRESIDENT JOSEPH A. BEAUDOIN

“A House-Senate Conference Committee, facing a February 29 deadline, will soon begin negotiations on extending the payroll tax holiday. The House passed position asks current and future federal employees to bear a third of the cost of the extension through further pay freeze and increased retirement contribution totaling $64.5 billion.  NARFE and the entire federal postal coalition are fighting back.  Please use the information below to tell Congress this proposal is unfair.”

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1)  NARFE TO CONDUCT NATIONAL CALL CONGRESS DAY ON FEBRUARY 15

Last week's Hotline promised full details including a preferred script. President Joseph Beaudoin asks that Hotline users save the date of Wednesday, February 15 and share this step by step plan with all NARFE members via chapter newsletters and other communication channels.

Step 1:
Call the Capitol using NARFE's toll free number, 1-866-220-0044. Ask the operator to connect you to your representative's and/or senators' office.

 

Step 2:
Tell the staff person who answers the telephone next where you live so they know you are a constituent, then say:

 

"I am a retired/active federal employee and member of NARFE." [Tell the staff person a little about your work.]
 
"[Senator or Representative X] represents thousands of federal workers and retirees and their survivors. Any plan that pays for 1/3 of the payroll tax cut by taking money out of the pockets of fewer than 2% of America's middle class is unacceptable, unfair, and certainly isn't shared sacrifice."
 
"Federal workers, retirees, and survivors have already done their part, saving the federal government $50 billion over two years. Making $65 billion in further cuts to pay, earned health and retirement benefits, or making changes to cost-of-living adjustments, would unfairly single out those who protected our nation, including many now on a fixed income."
 
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FEBRUARY'S MAGAZINE ARRIVING IN YOUR MAILBOX
 
The February issue of NARFE is in the mail and contains must read coverage of the perils facing current and future federal retirees. The budget process, FECA, and a NARFE-PAC preview are also covered. Pages 20 and 21 are devoted to Renewing Respect and our Protect America's Heartbeat campaign.
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 Obtaining the Hotline:  Thank you for using the Hotline.  This weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703-838-7780 and toll free at 1-877-217-8234), posted on NARFE's website, www.narfe.org; made available to NARFE-Net Coordinators; and sent to over 70,000 GEMS e-mail addresses.  Each delivery channel is a service of NARFE, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.

NARFE Legislative Hotline - January 6, 2012

MESSAGE FROM NARFE PRESIDENT JOSEPH A. BEAUDOIN

To set the scene for this new year, I'll defer to a long-time NARFE champion, former Congressman Tom Davis. In a December 21st interview with Tom Temin and Amy Morris on a Washington, DC, radio station, Davis said, "Something's got to give and the federal employees are right in the crosshairs. What you need, though, is a broad-based agreement, where you don't have any one segment that gets picked on, whether it's millionaires, whether it's federal employees, whether it's entitlement programs. You're going to need a broad-based solution to this, which means both parties are going to have to compromise and stick it to their base a little bit to get the kind of agreement we need to get out of this."
Davis went on to say that federal employees' precarious position is just a political matter. The anger that people feel toward the federal government relates to the laws passed by Congress and not the federal workforce. "I think that the biggest asset we have in the federal space is our employee base," Davis said. "We need to continue to train them and reward them accordingly."
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1) HOUSE-SENATE CONFERENCE COMMITTEE FACES LEAP DAY DEADLINE
The two-month extension of the partial payroll tax holiday, Medicare provider reimbursement rate and unemployment insurance provisions expires February 29, 2012. House and Senate leaders have named “conferees” to negotiate a longer-term policy. These seven senators and 13 representatives have a daunting gulf to bridge. The House-passed 12-month plan would have extended the federal pay freeze and made radical changes to the federal retirement system for current and future employees. Two NARFE champions - Senator Ben Cardin, D-MD, and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-MD, - are among the 20 House-Senate conferees.

2)  NARFE TO CONDUCT NATIONAL CALL CONGRESS DAY ON FEBRUARY 15
In addition to other targeted action, President Beaudoin is asking all members to mark the date, Wednesday, February 15, for NARFE's Call Congress Day. Full details, including a brief message, will be provided. To defend current and future federal retirees from being unfairly targeted, NARFE's Protect America's Heartbeat campaign will soon be updated.

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3)  THE PRESIDENT PROPOSES SMALL FEDERAL PAY INCREASE
The White House will propose a 0.5 percent pay increase for civilian federal employees as part of its 2013 budget proposal. This modest increase in federal compensation would be the first pay jump for federal workers since before President Obama proposed and Congress enacted a two-year freeze in late 2010.

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 Obtaining the Hotline:  Thank you for using the Hotline.  This weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703-838-7780 and toll free at 1-877-217-8234), posted on NARFE's website, www.narfe.org; made available to NARFE-Net Coordinators; and sent to over 70,000 GEMS e-mail addresses.  Each delivery channel is a service of NARFE, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.
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NARFE Legislative Hotline – December 16, 2011

MESSAGE FROM NARFE PRESIDENT JOSEPH A. BEAUDOIN

 "There is good news and bad news for federal employees and retirees as Congress works to complete its business for the year. The good news is the government shutdown deadline, midnight December 16, will be averted, however narrowly. The bad news is that the House passed NARFE-opposed legislation, H.R. 3630, would extend the current federal pay freeze and make radical changes to the federal retirement system for current and future employees to offset the cost of the expiring payroll tax holiday.”

- NARFE President Joseph A. Beaudoin

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1)     FEDS AGAIN TARGETED; LEGISLATIVE ACTION CENTER MESSAGE UPDATED

The House of Representatives sent current and future federal employees and retirees a vivid message that pay and retirement benefits are still “on the table” for additional cuts.  On December 13, the House passed legislation, H.R. 3630, that extends the current federal pay freeze for a third year and makes radical changes to the federal retirement system for current and future employees to offset the cost of the payroll tax holiday extension.  The vote was 234-193. (http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2011/roll923.xml). President Beaudoin’s letter to all Representatives is posted on our website, at http://www.narfe.org/pdf/Oppose_HR3630_CutFedPay.pdf

The NARFE “Protect America’s Heartbeat” campaign has a new message, revised December 16, for you to send to your senators and representative. Unless you have already received a satisfactory reply from your congressional delegation, President Beaudoin urges you to send NARFE’s revised message. In the first eight days of this Protect America’s Heartbeat message, NARFE activists generated over 22,000 messages to Congress. CLICK HERE to add your voice and Protect America’s Heartbeat (http://www.narfe.org/heartbeat)

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2)  HOUSE PASSES OMNIBUS; SENATE PASSAGE EXPECTED

The House passed an omnibus spending bill, bundling the remaining nine FY2012 appropriations bills that will fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year. Expected Senate passage will avert a partial government shutdown. As explained in the last Hotline, the military construction-veterans bill (H.R. 2055) served as the vehicle for the catch-all bill. The vote in the House was 296-121. Senate concurrence is expected late on Friday, December 16, or early on Saturday, December 17.

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3)  FIRST SESSION OF 112TH CONGRESS NEARS END

Eager to head back to their states and districts, Senators and Representatives should complete business on Saturday, December 17, or early in the week of December 19. The House is set to convene the 2nd Session on Tuesday, January 17; the Senate convenes Monday, January 23. The president will deliver his State of the Union address in late January and must submit a fiscal 2013 budget by Monday, February 6.

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4)  SMALL DECLINE IN CONSUMER PRICE INDEX

Retirees covered by the three major federally administered retirement programs -- Social Security, civil service and military retirement -- will receive a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) beginning in January 2012. Persons in the older system, the Civil Service Retirement System, will receive a COLA of 3.6 percent. Persons age 62 and above who are covered by the newer Federal Employees Retirement System will receive a 2.6 percent adjustment.

On Friday, December 16, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov/cpi or 202-691-6994) released November consumer price indices. For the second consecutive month, the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) declined slightly. The November index (222.813) is 0.19 percent below the 2011 third quarter average (223.233).

Persons who left government service due to on-the-job injuries or illnesses are covered by the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act. With one month left in the measurement year, the November index is 3.5 percent higher than the December 2010 index (215.262). December consumer price indices will be released on January 19, 2012.

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 Obtaining the Hotline:  Thank you for using the Hotline.  This weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703-838-7780 and toll free at 1-877-217-8234), posted on NARFE's website, www.narfe.org, made available to NARFE-Net Coordinators; and sent to over 69,000 GEMS e-mail addresses.  Each delivery channel is a service of NARFE, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.
 
 

This message is generated by the NARFE Global Email Messaging System (GEMS). Please do not reply to this message. If you wish to reply to this message, please compose a new message to the sender. To stop receiving messages from National Headquarters, such as legislative Hotlines, press releases, retirement benefit news, and/or your local federation newsletters and information, please go to www.narfe.org, and update your record by selecting the type of messages you would like to receive.
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NARFE Legislative Hotline - December 9, 2011

MESSAGE FROM NARFE PRESIDENT JOE BEAUDOIN
 "Federal workers believe in shared sacrifice, but what will it take for someone else to finally share in the sacrifice with us? Even when a policy like the payroll tax holiday is supposed to help middle-class Americans like us, it comes with a federal worker penalty attached. That's not a 'holiday' for middle-class federal workers -- it's a double shift.”

-NARFE President Joseph A. Beaudoin

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1)  EVEN MORE REASON TO SEND AN EMAIL TO YOUR LEGISLATORS
The NARFE Protect America's Heartbeat campaign, updated December 8, equips NARFE members to fight back against the HUGELY UNFAIR SCAPEGOATING of federal workers described below. In the first 24 hours of the new message, NARFE activists generated over 12,000 messages to their senators and representative. CLICK HERE to add your voice and Protect America's Heartbeat (www.narfe.org/heartbeat)

LATEST PAYROLL TAX HOLIDAY BILL TARGETS CURRENT, FUTURE FEDS

The House Republican leadership released a 369-page bill to extend the payroll tax cut, reform and extend unemployment insurance, and delay changes to the Medicare reimbursement rate for doctors. Among the controversial items in the legislation are provisions impacting current and future federal employees.  The bill would extend the pay freeze for one additional year, increase the employee contribution to retirement (both CSRS and FERS employees) by 1.5% over three years, and create a new category of retirement (SAE) for new employees and anyone not currently vested in FERS.  Under the SAE system, employees would contribute 10.2% of their salary towards retirement and their annuity would be based on the highest 5 years of salary with a multiplier of .7% instead of the current 1.1%.  It also ends the social security supplement for those covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) who retire before age 62 except those who are in a mandatory retirement age position.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid says the House plan is a non-starter in the Senate based, in part, on the provisions on the controversial Keystone pipeline.  "Compromise" legislation could end up including some of the above provisions.

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2)  OMNIBUS IN CONFERENCE, DEADLINE LOOMS

In order to pass an omnibus spending bill bundling the remaining nine appropriations bills for fiscal year 2012 before December 16 -- when the current continuing resolution funding the government expires -- Congress will have to pass legislation now being debated in a joint House-Senate conference. The military construction-veterans bill (H.R. 2055), the only measure already in conference, will serve as the vehicle for the catch-all bill. Spending levels in two of the nine (Labor-HHS-Education and Interior-Environment) and policy riders are reportedly the most contentious issues in negotiations.

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3)  BILL TO HONOR FALLEN FEDS CLEARED FOR PRESIDENT
The Senate passed unanimously legislation that would authorize federal agencies to present a U.S. flag to the next of kin, or other designee, of a civilian federal employee who is killed while performing official duties.  Currently, there is no such system in place for federal employees, and H.R. 2061, the Civilian Service Recognition Act of 2011, will change that.  NARFE President Joseph Beaudoin applauded the action, saying: “In an average year, 150 federal employees lose their lives when they go to work for us across the country and around the world. These are brave Americans who were doing their part for our nation as border patrol agents, drug enforcement agents, public health officials, disaster first-responders, FBI officers, astronauts, military support personnel and countless other vital government roles. Their loss is tragic but the results of this legislation will at least serve as a deserved symbol of recognition of their sacrifice.”  President Obama supports the legislation and is expected to sign it into law.
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4)  FEDERAL BENEFITS OPEN SEASON ENDS DECEMBER 14
December 14 is the last day of the current open season for electing or changing coverage in the Federal Employees Health Benefits and FEDVIP programs. If enrollees make no changes, they will remain in the same plan next year, but before the deadline arrives, they should at the minimum review the plan's 2012 benefits package, understand what is happening with their premiums, and make sure that their plan is continuing at all. NARFE magazine (October, November and December) and http://www.opm.gov/insure/health/rates/index.asp    provide details and premium information.

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 Obtaining the Hotline:  Thank you for using the Hotline.  This weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703-838-7780 and toll free at 1-877-217-8234), posted on NARFE's website, www.narfe.org, made available to NARFE-Net Coordinators; and sent to over 69,000 GEMS e-mail addresses.  Each delivery channel is a service of NARFE, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.
***
NARFE Legislative Hotline - November 18, 2011

MESSAGE FROM NARFE PRESIDENT JOE BEAUDOIN

“Through NARFE's Protect America's Heartbeat campaign our members are telling Washington that we will share sacrifice but NOT be singled out for an unfair share of cuts to our earned benefits.”

-NARFE President Joseph A. Beaudoin

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1) SUPERCOMMITTEE ON THE VERGE….

The so-called supercommittee--formally, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction--is required to report legislation no later than Wednesday, November 23, that will reduce future budget deficits by no less than $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years.   Although many believe the supercommittee will fail to report a plan, the committee will continue to meet through the weekend to come up with a proposal. If there is a proposal, perhaps on Monday or Tuesday of next week, we will report that to NARFE members.

President Beaudoin's Wednesday request to members to send NARFE's message to Washington prompted a substantial burst of message traffic. Please, if you haven't already done so, send our message to the president, the vice president, your two senators and your representative!  CLICK HERE to send our message NOW. http://www.narfe.org/heartbeat/

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2) CONGRESS CLEARS APPROPRIATIONS, SHUTDOWN AVERTED

The expiring “Continuing Resolution” is extended through December 16 as a part of the $128 billion appropriations measure passed 298-121 in the House and 70-30 in the Senate on November 17. The legislation funds the departments of Agriculture, Justice, Commerce, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development.

A day after averting a potential government shutdown, the House defeated a constitutional amendment to require a balanced budget. The measure failed to reach the two-thirds margin required to approve amendments to the Constitution.

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3)CONSUMER PRICES DECLINE IN OCTOBER

Largely due to a decline in the energy sector, especially gasoline, the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, the CPI-W, declined .29 percent in October to 223.043. Compared to the 2011 third-quarter average base index, the decline is .09 percent. More detail is available to NARFE members on the Legislation Home Page.

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4) PROTECT AMERICA'S HEARTBEAT TOOLKIT UPDATED

The “Factsheet: The Truth About Federal Pay” and “Protect America's Heartbeat Take Action Toolkit” features of the Toolkit section of Protect America's Heartbeat website have been updated. These resource are posted at http://www.narfe.org/heartbeat/resources.cfm

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Obtaining the Hotline:  Thank you for using the Hotline.  This weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703-838-7780 and toll free at 1-877-217-8234), posted on NARFE's website, www.narfe.org, made available to NARFE-Net Coordinators; and sent to over 68,000 GEMS e-mail addresses.  Each delivery channel is a service of NARFE, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.
***

NARFE Legislative Hotline - November 10, 2011

MESSAGE FROM NARFE PRESIDENT JOE BEAUDOIN
“A proposal to strand our nation's disabled federal workers when they reach retirement age does not belong in this legislation (to reform the U.S. Postal Service). This ill-conceived plan must not move forward when the full Senate debates the issue. These workers already have made physical sacrifices for their country, and it is unfair to add this burden on them in their later years.”  (See item 2 below.)

-NARFE President Joseph A. Beaudoin
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1)   PRESIDENT BEAUDOIN CONTINUES TO URGE NARFE MEMBERS TO SEND OUR NEW MESSAGE TO YOUR REPRESENTATIVE AND BOTH SENATORS

Thousands of NARFE members, most in the last week, have responded to our most recent Protect America's Heartbeat (PAH) message.  President Beaudoin again challenges NARFE to exceed the much larger totals garnered by earlier Protect America's Heartbeat messages. The deadline for the “supercommittee” is November 23.  Please, if you haven't already done so, send our message to the President, the Vice President, your two senators and your representative!  CLICK HERE to send our message NOW. http://www.narfe.org/heartbeat/

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2)   FECA REDUCTIONS IN POSTAL OVERHAUL LEGISLATION

On November 9, legislation (S. 1789) to reform the U.S. Postal Service was moved forward by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.  The legislation contained a Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA) provision that applies to all federal employees. NARFE and allied groups sought to remove provisions to reduce by 25 or 33 percent the compensation paid to all federal employees, both postal and non-postal, who are disabled from a work-related injury or illness when those employees reach retirement age.  Despite our efforts, amendments to remove the FECA provisions or limit their impact on current beneficiaries were defeated.  NARFE will continue to oppose the workers' compensation section of the bill because it does not adequately take into account the disadvantages in preparing for retirement faced by those employees unfortunate enough to suffer a debilitating injury or illness as a result of their public service.  NARFE's Press Release is posted on our website, http://www.narfe.org/departments/home/articles.cfm?ID=2644

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Obtaining the Hotline:  Thank you for using the Hotline.  This weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703/838-7780 and toll free at 1-877-217-8234), posted on NARFE's website, www.narfe.org, made available to NARFE-Net Coordinators; and sent to over 68,000 GEMS e-mail addresses.  Each delivery channel is a service of NARFE, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.
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NARFE Legislative Hotline - November 4, 2011

MESSAGE FROM NARFE PRESIDENT JOE BEAUDOIN
“Our Protect America's Heartbeat message is updated and targeted to both Congress and the White House.  I strenuously urge you to join me in sending our message to President Obama, Vice President Biden, your representative and both senators.”
- NARFE President Joseph A. Beaudoin
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1)   PRESIDENT BEAUDOIN ASKS EACH NARFE MEMBER TO SEND OUR NEW MESSAGE TO THE PRESIDENT, THE VICE PRESIDENT, YOUR REPRESENTATIVE AND BOTH SENATORS

NARFE members have responded eagerly to Protect America's Heartbeat (PAH) messages.  President Beaudoin's challenge is to exceed the thousands who sent the PAH message in February. Please, if you haven't already done so, add your name to our supercommittee letter!  CLICK HERE to send our message NOW. http://www.narfe.org/heartbeat/

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2)   ARBITRARY WORKFORCE REDUCTION BILL ADVANCES, DRAWS NARFE REBUKE

NARFE restated our opposition to legislation (H.R. 3029) which would arbitrarily reduce the federal workforce by 10 percent.  Though vociferously opposed by many, the bill was reported to the House by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.  President Beaudoin's statement is posted on our website http://www.narfe.org/departments/home/articles.cfm?ID=2640.

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3)   KEY SENATORS PROPOSE REDUCTIONS TO WORKERS' COMPENSATION BENEFITS IN POSTAL REFORM BILL

On November 2, Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, I-CT, introduced significant postal “reform” legislation (S. 1789) that, among other things, would reduce by 25 or 33 percent the compensation paid to all federal employees, both postal and non-postal, who are disabled from a work-related injury or illness when those employees reach retirement age.  NARFE opposes the workers' compensation section of the bill because it does not adequately take into account the disadvantages in preparing for retirement faced by those employees unfortunate enough to suffer a debilitating injury or illness as a result of their public service.

Additionally, S. 1789 would require all Medicare-eligible postal retirees (and employees) to enroll in Medicare Parts A and B, requiring payment of the attendant Part B premium and limiting their FEHBP enrollment options to a new Medigap-like plan.  NARFE has serious concerns that the new plans could have higher premiums than those currently available to postal retirees, and that retirees not currently enrolled in Part B would have trouble paying both Part B and FEHBP premiums.

The bill, S. 1789, the 21st Century Postal Service Act of 2011, will come before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on Wednesday, November 9.   NARFE will be asking members with senators on the committee to contact those senators to urge them to oppose the onerous provisions.

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4)   FALLEN FEDERAL EMPLOYEES ONE STEP CLOSER TO OFFICIAL RECOGNITION

On November 3, by a vote of 425-0, the House of Representatives passed legislation (H.R. 2061) that would authorize federal agencies to provide a U.S. flag to the next of kin or other designee of a civilian federal employee killed while performing official duties.  H.R. 2061, introduced by Rep. Richard Hanna, R-NY, now goes to the Senate.  More information is posted on the NARFE website.  http://www.narfe.org/departments/home/articles.cfm?ID=2638.

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Obtaining the Hotline:  Thank you for using the Hotline.  This weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703/838-7780 and toll free at 1-877-217-8234), posted on NARFE's website, www.narfe.org, made available to NARFE-Net Coordinators; and sent to over 68,000 GEMS e-mail addresses.  Each delivery channel is a service of NARFE,
The National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.

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NARFE Legislative Hotline - October 28, 2011

MESSAGE FROM NARFE PRESIDENT JOE BEAUDOIN

“Please join me, on this Wednesday, November 2nd, NARFE's Call Congress Day. I will call my Representative and both Senators. I urge you to call yours on November 2nd.”
- NARFE President Joseph A. Beaudoin
 
 

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1)   NOVEMBER 2ND CALL TO CONGRESS DAY - SAVE THE DATE AND SPREAD THE WORD

The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction - the congressional "supercommittee" - is tasked with crafting legislation to cut trillions of dollars from the federal budget.  Its deadline is fast approaching, and your earned federal retirement and health benefits may be at risk.

Please call 1-866-220-0044 on November 2nd and make sure your members of Congress know that federal retirees and active employees who protect America's heartbeat won't sit still while they are singled out for unfair cuts.

Step 1:  Call the Capitol using NARFE's toll free number 1-866-220-0044 (if busy, the commercial number, 202-224-3121, may work better).  Ask the operator to connect you to your representative's and/or senators' office.  You can also find the direct number for your representative and senators by finding their personal site on the House web site, www.house.gov, and the Senate web site, www.senate.gov.
 
 

Step 2: Tell the staff person who answers the telephone next where you live so they know you are a constituent, then say:

 "I am a retired/active federal employee and member of NARFE."
[Tell the staff person a little about your work.]

"[Senator or Representative X] represents thousands of federal workers and retirees and their survivors, and any recommendations the supercommittee makes shouldn't unfairly single us out to bear the burden of fixing a budget problem we didn't create."
"Federal workers, retirees, and survivors didn't cause the budget crisis - and making extreme cuts to pay, earned health and retirement benefits, or making changes to cost-of-living adjustments, would unfairly single out those who protected our nation, including many now on a fixed income."

Whether you speak to a staff person or leave a recorded message, request that your lawmaker respond in writing to your phone call.  For that reason, be sure to leave your mailing address.  Contact only your own representative and two senators.  Lawmakers will disregard your message if you are not a voting constituent.

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2)   PROTECT AMERICA'S HEARTBEAT TOOLKIT SORTS RECOMMENDATIONS TO SUPPERCOMMITTEE

Our Protect America's Heartbeat Toolkit is updated and includes a useful summary of the recommendations to the Supercommittee made by the Obama Administration, committee chairs and ranking members with jurisdiction for civil service show the high stakes for federal employees and retirees.  To reach the toolkit menu use http://www.narfe.org/heartbeat/resources.cfm and to see the summary use http://www.narfe.org/pdf/Factsheet_SupercommitteeRecommendations.pdf
 
 

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3)  PRESIDENT BEAUDOIN ASKS EACH NARFE MEMBER TO SEND OUR NEW MESSAGE TO THE PRESIDENT, THE VICE PRESIDENT AND YOUR REPRESENTATIVE AND BOTH SENATORS

Each NARFE members is urged to “Add your name to our supercommittee letter!”

CLICK HERE to send our message NOW.

http://www.narfe.org/heartbeat/

Obtaining the Hotline: Thank you for using the Hotline.  This weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703-838-7780 and toll free at 1-877-217-8234), posted on NARFE's website, www.narfe.org, made available to NARFE-Net Coordinators; and sent to over 68,000 GEMS e-mail addresses.  Each delivery channel is a service of NARFE, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.

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NARFE Legislative Hotline, released Friday, October 21st, 2011.  This edition 1st) urges the widest circulation and preparation for our November 2nd Call Congress Day, 2nd) provides a link to the recommendations to the Supercommittee and 3rd) reports on the just-released cost of living adjustment.  The next scheduled Hotline is Friday, October 28th.  (643 words; 4:03)

1) November 2nd Call to Congress Day - Save the Date and Spread the Word: The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction - the congressional "supercommittee" - is tasked with crafting legislation to cut trillions of dollars from the federal budget.  Its deadline is fast approaching, and your earned federal retirement and health benefits may be at risk.

Please call 1-866-220-0044 on November 2nd and make sure your members of Congress know that federal retirees and active employees who protect America's heartbeat won't sit still while they are singled out for unfair cuts.

Step 1:      Call the Capitol using NARFE's toll free number 1-866-220-0044 (if busy, the commercial number, 202-224-3121, may work better). Ask the operator to connect you to your representative's and/or senators' office.  You can also find the direct number for your representative and senators by finding their personal site on the House web site, www.house.gov, and the Senate web site, www.senate.gov.

Step 2:      Tell the staff person who answers the telephone next where you live so they know you are a constituent, then say:

·        "I am a retired/active federal employee and member of NARFE." [Tell the staff person a little about your work.]
·        "[Senator or Representative X] represents thousands of federal workers and retirees and their survivors, and any recommendations the supercommittee makes shouldn't unfairly single us out to bear the burden of fixing a budget problem we didn't create."
·        "Federal workers, retirees, and survivors didn't cause the budget crisis - and making extreme cuts to pay, earned health and retirement benefits, or making changes to cost-of-living adjustments, would unfairly single out those who protected our nation, including many now on a fixed income."

Whether you speak to a staff person or leave a recorded message, request that your lawmaker respond in writing to your phone call.  For that reason, be sure to leave your mailing address.  Contact only your own representative and two senators.  Lawmakers will disregard your message if you are not a voting constituent.

2) Recommendations to Supercommittee, Menu for Hits to Civil Service: The recommendations to the Supercommittee made by committee chairs and ranking members with jurisdiction were summarized in the last Hotline.  Copies of these four letters of recommendations are posted for NARFE members on our web site.  Log in as a NARFE member and point your browser to http://www.narfe.org/departments/legislation/articles.cfm?ID=2613.

3) COLA of 3.6% (CSRS) or 2.6% (FERS):  Current law provides a cost of living adjustment (COLA) in Social Security, military retirement and federal civil service.  After two years without any COLA, persons in all three federally administered retirement programs will receive a COLA beginning in January 2012.  Retirees in the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) will receive a 3.6 percent COLA.  Retirees, 62 and over, covered by the newer Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) will receive a 2.6 percent COLA. The COLA for persons covered by FECA is calculated on a calendar year.  With 3 months remaining, September's index (223.688) is 3.9 percent higher than the December 2010 index (215.262).  NARFE's web site, www.narfe.org, has more details near the top of the home page.  The schedule for future CPI releases is available on the BLS web site, http://www.bls.gov/schedule/news_release/cpi.htm

Obtaining the Hotline:  Thank you for using the Hotline.  This weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703-838-7780 and toll free at 1-877-217-8234), posted on NARFE's website, www.narfe.org, made available to NARFE-Net Coordinators; and sent to over 68,000 GEMS e-mail addresses.  Each delivery channel is a service of NARFE, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.

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Wed, Oct 19, 2011 at 8:04 AM
subject COLA increase to federal retirement annuities
mailed-by narfe.org
Dear NARFE member,
We wanted to share the following news:
Federal Retirement Annuities to Increase through Cost of Living Adjustment
Federal retirees will receive a cost of living adjustment (COLA) to their civil service annuities beginning in January 2012.  Retirees in the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) will receive a 3.6 percent increase to their annuities, while retirees in the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) will receive a 2.6 percent increase to their annuities.
To trigger a COLA for 2012, the average CPI-W for the months of July, August, and September of 2011 needed to rise above the 2008 average for those same months, the last measurement to trigger a COLA (for 2009).  It did, by 3.6 percent.  While CSRS retirees receive the full amount of the CPI-W increase as a COLA, current law reduces the FERS COLA by 1 percentage point for increases above 3 percent.
Because the CPI-W showed declining prices from 2008 to 2009, and while it showed prices increasing between 2009 and 2010, it did not show prices increasing back to 2008 levels, there has not been a COLA for the last two years.  But finally, we have some good news for 2012!
Under current law, COLAs for federal retirement annuities, as well as for military retiree annuities and social security payments, are determined in reference to the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), which is calculated by economists and statisticians with the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The CPI-W is the current index used for measuring increases in the prices of consumer goods throughout the economy.  It includes prices on all consumer goods, including food and beverages, housing, clothing, transportation, medical care, recreation, education and communication, and more.
The new CPI-W figure for September 2011 was 223.688.  The average CPI-W for the third-quarter of 2011 was 223.233.  This is the new reference figure for determining the 2013 COLA.
NARFE continues to support strong COLAs based on fair assessments of increases in consumer prices to protect the value of federal annuities from inflation.

Best regards,
NARFE Legislative Staff
 
 

***

Sent: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 2:25 PM
Subject: Changes to NARFE websiteTO all chapters and federations officers

Changes to NARFE website

NARFE’s Communications Department, working with the IT Department, recently made changes to the NARFE website. This was not a redesign but was done to streamline the site by consolidating pages and condensing information.

Because some members use the Main Home Page only, this means that they are not accessing timely and useful member-restricted information, such as action alerts, legislative updates and benefits changes. In order to drive members to the member-restricted home pages, we have prominently placed a log-in just under the banner on the Main Home page. Only one click is required to access the Members Home Page, log in and, from there, access various home pages.

To access the Members Home Page:
• Click on the Members log-in button just under the banner on the Main Home page.

To access the NARFE Officers Home Page:
• First log in as a member to access the Members Home Page and then click on the NARFE Officers Home Page tab under the banner.

Previously, several drop-down menus appeared on the Main Home Page (reports, forms, etc.). These drop-down menus have been removed.

To access links for online reports, forms (including the F-18, interactive, downloadable and other forms), publications as well as additional officer resources:
• Go to the left panel on the Officers Home Page.

To access links for member renewal, update your record, join GEMS, forms and other material:
• Go to What You Can Do Online in the left panel of the Members Home Page.
 
 

This message is generated by the NARFE Global Email Messaging System (GEMS). Please do not reply to this message. If you wish to reply to this message, please compose a new message to the sender. To stop receiving messages from National Headquarters, such as legislative Hotlines, press releases, retirement benefit news, and/or your local federation newsletters and information, please go to www.narfe.org, and update your record by selecting the type of messages you would like to receive.

***
NARFE Legislative Hotline, number 766, released Friday, July 22nd, 2011.  Planning for NARFE's National Call Congress and the White House Day, July 27th is the lead.  The next Hotline is tentatively scheduled for Friday, July 29th.  On July 26th, the eve of our National Call Day, a reminder message will be sent. (344 words; 2:28)

National Call Congress, President Obama Day:  Politicians in D.C. are plotting new attacks on federal workers in closed-door budget talks. NARFE members did not cause our deficit - we MUST BE HEARD.  On Wednesday, July 27th, President Beaudoin implores each member to call President Obama, your two senators and your representative, and let your views be known.  Your representatives in Washington are making decisions that will affect your benefits and retirement even as you read this.

Toll Free Phone Numbers: The toll free number for the White House is 1-888-225-8418.  The toll free number to reach the Capitol switchboard is 1-866-220-0044.  You will need to ask for your legislators by name or provide your ZIP Code.

Message:  Once connected to your lawmaker's office, NARFE members should say:

*“My name is __________________, and I live in (name city/town). I am a federal retiree (or worker).

* Don't single us out by making more cuts to the retirement and health benefits we earned through years of serving the public.

* Federal workers and retirees have already sacrificed pay and benefits.”

Whether you speak to a staff person or leave a recorded message, request that your lawmaker respond in writing to your phone call. For that reason, be sure to leave your mailing address.  Contact only your own representative and two senators. Lawmakers will disregard your message if you are not a voting constituent.

Obtaining the Hotline:  Thank you for using the Hotline.  This weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703/838-7780 and toll free at 1-877-217-8234), posted on NARFE's Internet, www.narfe.org, made available to NARFE-Net Coordinators; and sent to over 67,000 GEMS e-mail addresses.  Each delivery channel is a service of NARFE, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.

***

NARFE Legislative Hotline, number 765, released Friday, July 15th, 2011.  This edition covers 1) High stakes Cost of Living calculation changes and 2) Planning for NARFE's National Call Congress and the White House Day, July 27th.  The next Hotline is tentatively scheduled for Friday, July 22nd; an earlier edition is quite possible. (516 words; 3:15)

Protect America's Heartbeat: As the August 2nd debt ceiling deadline nears, the inflation protection of Cost of Living Adjustments have come under attack and we are fighting back.  Hundreds of NARFE members responded in the past week by telephone and 6,002 activists have used the July 12th Protect America's Heartbeat update to send an e-mail to President Obama and their congressional delegations.  This group includes nearly a thousand who had never before sent ANY message.

Send Updated Message:  Especially as the fits and starts of high level negotiations continue, NOW is the time to use Protect America's Heartbeat to send e-mail messages to the Congress and the White House. If you have not sent a letter since the Protect America's Heartbeat site was updated on July 12, please tell your Congressional delegation and the President current and future federal retirees should not be made budget scapegoats.  Click here to tell Congress not to cut your earned benefits!

National Call Congress, President Obama Day:  Circle this date on your calendar!  On Wednesday, July 27th, President Beaudoin is asking each member to call President Obama, your two senators and your representative, and let your views be known.  Your representatives in Washington are making decisions that will affect your benefits and retirement even as you read this.

Toll Free Phone Numbers:  The toll free number for the White House is 1-888-225-8418.  The toll free number to reach the Capitol switchboard is 1-866-220-0044.  You will need to ask for your legislators by name or provide your ZIP Code.

Message:Once connected to your lawmaker's office, NARFE members should say:

* “My name is __________________, and I live in (name city/town). I am a federal retiree (or worker).

* Don't single us out by making more cuts to the retirement and health benefits we earned through years of serving the public.

* Federal workers and retirees have already sacrificed pay and benefits.”

Whether you speak to a staff person or leave a recorded message, request that your lawmaker respond in writing to your phone call. For that reason, be sure to leave your mailing address.  Contact only your own representative and two senators. Lawmakers will disregard your message if you are not a voting constituent.

COLA Update:  June's CPI-W is 222.522 a decline of 0.2 percent from May but 3.26 percent higher than the 2008 3rd Quarter Average (215.495).  July indices will be released Thursday, August 18th, 2011.

Obtaining the Hotline: Thank you for using the Hotline.  This weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703/838-7780 and toll free at 1-877-217-8234), posted on NARFE's Internet, www.narfe.org, made available to NARFE-Net Coordinators; and sent to over 67,000 GEMS e-mail addresses.  Each delivery channel is a service of NARFE, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.

***

NARFE Legislative Hotline, number 763, released Friday, July 1st, 2011.  Planning for NARFE's National Call Congress and the White House Day, July 27th, is, again, the lead.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, said June 30th that the Senate will work through its scheduled July 4th recess to deal with the looming crisis on the debt ceiling.  The next Constituent Work Week for House members, set for the week of July 18th, may also be canceled.  The next Hotline is tentatively scheduled for Monday, July 11th. (531 words; 4:02)

National Call Congress, President Obama Day:  Circle this date on your calendar!  On Wednesday, July 27th, President Beaudoin is asking each member to call President Obama, their two senators and their representative, and let your views be known.  Your representatives in Washington are making decisions that will affect your benefits and retirement even as you read this.

Toll Free Phone Numbers:  The toll free number for the White House is 1-888-225-8418.  The toll free number to reach the Capitol switchboard is 1-866-220-0044.  You will need to ask for your legislators by name or provide your ZIP Code.

Message:  Once connected to your lawmaker's office, NARFE members should say:

* “My name is __________________, and I live in (name city/town). I am a federal retiree (or worker).

* Don't single us out by making more cuts to the retirement and health benefits we earned through years of serving the public.

* Federal workers and retirees have already sacrificed pay and benefits.”

Whether you speak to a staff person or leave a recorded message, request that your lawmaker respond in writing to your phone call. For that reason, be sure to leave your mailing address.  Contact only your own representative and two senators. Lawmakers will disregard your message if you are not a voting constituent.

Protect America's Heartbeat:  As President Obama and congressional leaders engage on the looming debt crisis, this is an excellent time to join over 20,000 NARFE activists who have used Protect America's Heartbeat to send e-mail messages to the Congress and the White House. If you have not sent a letter since the Protect America's Heartbeat site was updated on May 18th, please tell your Congressional delegation and the President current and future federal retirees should not be made budget scapegoats.  Click here to tell Congress not to cut your earned benefits!

Food Drive a Success:  On May 14th, the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, the largest one-day drive in the nation, collected 70.2 million pounds of food at a time when hunger is a growing problem.  The 2011 food drive marks the 19th year the drive has been conducted by the National Association of Letter Carriers and cooperating unions and corporations, especially the Postal Service.  President Beaudoin thanks the many NARFE members who contributed food and time to Stamping Out Hunger.

Obtaining the Hotline:  Thank you for using the Hotline.  This weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703/838-7780 and toll free at 1-877-217-8234), posted on NARFE's Internet, www.narfe.org, made available to NARFE-Net Coordinators; and sent to over 67,000 GEMS e-mail addresses.  Each delivery channel is a service of NARFE, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.

***
NARFE Legislative Hotline, number 762, released Friday, June 24th, 2011.  Early planning for NARFE's National Call Congress and the White House Day, July 27th, is our lead.  The House and Senate separate Independence Day recesses provide opportunities for NARFE meetings.  The next Hotline is tentatively scheduled for Friday, July 1st. (449 words; 3:06)

National Call Congress, President Obama Day:  NARFE President Joe Beaudoin wants you to circle a date on your calendar for NARFE National Call Congress and the White House Day.  About a month from now, Wednesday, July 27th, President Beaudoin is asking each member to call President Obama, their two senators and their representative, and let your views be known.

Toll Free Phone Numbers:  This all hands action day will be the cover of the August issue of NARFE magazine and fully explained in an article.  However, advance planning is required as many chapters will not meet again before July 27th.  The toll free number for the White House is 1-888-225-8418.  The toll free number to reach the Capitol switchboard is 1-866-220-0044.  You will need to ask for your legislators by name or provide your ZIP Code.

Message:  Once connected to your lawmaker's office, NARFE members should say:

* “My name is __________________, and I live in (name city/town). I am a federal retiree (or worker).

*Don't single us out by making more cuts to the retirement and health benefits we earned through years of serving the public.

* Federal workers and retirees have already sacrificed pay and benefits.”

Whether you speak to a staff person or leave a recorded message, request that your lawmaker respond in writing to your phone call. For that reason, be sure to leave your mailing address.  Contact only your own representative and two senators. Lawmakers will disregard your message if you are not a voting constituent.

Meet Your Members of Congress:  June 25th through July 4th is a District Work Week for the House of Representatives.  The Senate holds a State Work Period from July 4th through July 8th.  These separate weeks are excellent opportunities for groups or individual NARFE members to meet with their elected officials.  An appointment is preferable but just dropping in is permissible.  The legislative staff (leg@narfe.org or 703/838-7760 x201) can supply phone numbers and addresses.  Page 20 of the May NARFE magazine provides additional information and dates.

Obtaining the Hotline: Thank you for using the Hotline.  This weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703/838-7780 and toll free at 1-877-217-8234), posted on NARFE's Internet, www.narfe.org, made available to NARFE-Net Coordinators; and sent to over 67,000 GEMS e-mail addresses.  Each delivery channel is a service of NARFE, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.

***

NARFE Legislative Hotline, number 761, released Friday, June 17th, 2011.  The small group of negotiators, pictured on the July cover, held three sessions this week.  The early stages of these negotiations are reported in July's NARFE cover story on pages 22 and 23.  This article outlines the high stakes for the entire federal community.  The next Hotline is tentatively scheduled for early next week. (417 words; 3:16)

Have you raised your voice recently?: While high level negotiations were held this week, 2,438 NARFE members sent the updated Protect America's Heartbeat message to their Representative, both Senators and the President. Representatives know how many federal employees and retirees live in their districts and states -- so if they don't hear from you, they may suspect you're indifferent to your earned retirement, pay and health benefits being cut.  JOIN THE FIGHT: CLICK HERE to send the updated Protect America's Heartbeat letter to your elected officials NOW.

Singled Out or Shared Sacrifice: With only six weeks remaining until a potential government default, NARFE worries that a deal informed by behind the scenes negotiations will seek major sacrifices from the federal workforce -- including retirees - rather than shared sacrifice by a wider public.  As the House passed Budget Resolution shows, many in Congress think we can be easily scapegoated and singled out and are coming after active and retired federal employees with equal fervor.  Act now to protect your earned benefits: CLICK HERE to send the updated letter to your elected officials.

Consumer Prices Rise in May: On June 15th, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on May consumer prices.  The CPI-W, the index used for social security, military and civil service retirement benefits, rose 0.5 percent in May.  During the first eight months of the measurement year, the CPI-W has increased by 3.4 percent.

Another Tool for Advocates: NARFE's toll free numbers for the Congress (1-866-220-0044) and the White House (1-888-225-8418) provide a powerful tool for NARFE activists and allied organizations.  Full details are available for NARFE members on www.narfe.org.  From the NARFE Home Page select “LEGISLATION” log in and then select Hotline Message Archives.  The June 3rd Hotline provides full details.

Obtaining the Hotline: Thank you for using the Hotline.  This weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703/838-7780 and toll free at 1-877-217-8234), posted on NARFE's Internet, www.narfe.org, made available to NARFE-Net Coordinators; and sent to over 67,000 GEMS e-mail addresses.  Each delivery channel is a service of NARFE, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.

***
 

NARFE Legislative Hotline, number 760, released Friday, June 10th, 2011.  The high level fiscal negotiations begun at the Blair House are reported in July's NARFE cover story.  This article outlines the high stakes for the federal community demanding more participation in NARFE's PROTECT America's Heartbeat campaign.  The tentative date for the next Hotline is Friday, June 17th. (326 words)

Defend Your Earned Benefits: With the debt ceiling less than two months off, the highest level negotiations, headed by Vice President Biden, appear more focused on major sacrifices from the federal workforce -- including retirees -- than shared sacrifice by a wider public.  As the House passed Budget Resolution shows, many in Congress think we can be easily scapegoated and singled out and are coming after active and retired federal employees with equal fervor.

Have you raised your voice recently?: Only 7,163 NARFE members have sent the most recent Protect America's Heartbeat message to their Representative, both Senators and the President. Representatives know how many federal employees and retirees live in their districts and states -- so if they don't hear from you, they may suspect you're indifferent to your earned retirement, pay and health benefits being cut.  JOIN THE FIGHT: CLICK HERE to send the updated letter to your elected officials NOW.

  Another Tool for Advocates: NARFE's toll free numbers for the Congress and the White House provide a powerful tool for NARFE activists and allied organizations.  Full details are available for NARFE members on www.narfe.org.  From the NARFE Home Page select “LEGISLATION” log in and then select Hotline Message Archives.  The June 3rd Hotline provides full details.

Obtaining the Hotline: Thank you for using the Hotline.  This weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703/838-7780 and toll free at 1-877-217-8234), posted on NARFE's Internet, www.narfe.org, made available to NARFE-Net Coordinators; and sent to over 67,000 GEMS e-mail addresses.  Each delivery channel is a service of NARFE, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.

***

NARFE Legislative Hotline, number 759, released Friday, June 3rd, 2011.  PROTECT America's Heartbeat campaign continues.  June 4th through June 12th is a Constituent Work Week during which NARFE members should meet with their U.S. Representative.  The tentative date for the next Hotline is Friday, June 10th.  (720 word)

Meet Your Representative:  Every new proposal to tax or slash the federal workforce is a threat to every active and retired federal worker. Washington is making it clear that they think our annuities are too generous - and that they think we can be easily scapegoated and singled out. Representatives will be home in their districts taking the pulse of their constituents during the week beginning June 5th, and they need to hear from you. President Joe Beaudoin urges members to attend and participate in any Town Hall Meetings or opportunities to meet or ask your representative a question.

Is Your State Speaking Out?:  Thousands of NARFE members have raised their voices and sent a message to Congress and the White House as part of the Protect America's Heartbeat campaign. Counts by state for e-mail messages during 2011 are listed below.  A nationwide breakout by Congressional District is available (in Excel ® or Word ®).

NARFE Traceable Traffic on Legislative Action Center (2011)

ACTIVIST_STATE                     E-MAIL       PRINTED  TOTAL ACTIVISTS
AK (Alaska)                                       391               0                         72
AL (Alabama)                                    426               7                        108
AR (Arkansas)                                  1455              20                       216
AZ (Arizona)                                    3845              62                       569
CA (California)                               13244             254                     2054
CO (Colorado)                                  5306                4                       817
CT (Connecticut)                               897               18                       125
DC (District of Columbia)                   141               81                       124
DE (Delaware)                                  2125                3                        303
FL (Florida)                                    14458              129                      2034
GA (Georgia)                                    4552                20                       770
HI (Hawaii)                                      1190                14                        185
IA (Iowa)                                         3240                  9                        452
ID (Idaho)                                         149                  7                          42
IL (Illinois)                                      5160               35                         844
IN (Indiana)                                    2629              126                         431
ACTIVIST_STATE                     E-MAIL       PRINTED  TOTAL ACTIVISTS
KS (Kansas)                                     889                14                         177
KY (Kentucky)                               2372                28                         371
LA (Louisiana)                                1581                 0                          250
MA (Massachusetts)                        2882                 4                          428
MD (Maryland)                             13175               33                         2184
ME (Maine)                                    1202                 1                          148
MI (Michigan)                                 3671               59                          575
MN (Minnesota)                              4134                0                           565
MO (Missouri)                                4470               59                           682
MS (Mississippi)                              1605                1                           227
MT (Montana)                                1041                0                           167
NC (North Carolina)                          483              44                           152
ND (North Dakota)                         1007                4                            155
NE (Nebraska)                                 794                 1                           126
NH (New Hampshire)                     1065               23                           147
NJ (New Jersey)                             4899             102                            771
NM (New Mexico)                         2672                 6                            403
NV (Nevada)                                  1731             112                            275
ACTIVIST_STATE                     E-MAIL       PRINTED  TOTAL ACTIVISTS
NY (New York)                             6618               23                            956
OH (Ohio)                                     4779               63                            758
OK (Oklahoma)                             2474               11                            381
OR (Oregon)                                   3051              12                            423
PA (Pennsylvania)                         8067             212                          1346
PR (Puerto Rico)                               49                 0                              22
RI (Rhode Island)                            587                 3                              82
SC (South Carolina)                       2840               13                            428
SD (South Dakota)                         1576                 5                            222
TN (Tennessee)                              3114               12                            484
TX (Texas)                                     7296               17                          1137
UT (Utah)                                       1082               39                            187
VA (Virginia)                               13558               55                          2262
VI (Virgin Islands)                               2                 0                                 1
VT (Vermont)                                  339                 0                               63
WA (Washington)                         6508                24                          1025
WI (Wisconsin)                             2528                41                            381
WV (West Virginia)                      1429                16                            206
WY (Wyoming)                              271                  0                              56
ACTIVIST_STATE                     E-MAIL       PRINTED  TOTAL ACTIVISTS
 
 

Join the Fight: If you are among 6,430 activists who have each generated NARFE current message to your Representative, Senators and the President, THANK YOU.  In any other case, join the fight NOW.  CLICK HERE to send our Protect America's Heartbeat message to YOUR elected officials.  Representatives know how many federal employees and retirees live in their districts and states.  If they don't hear from you they expect you're not interested.

Telephone Campaign: NARFE's telephone campaign also continues.  President Joseph Beaudoin urges all members to both call and then share the telephone script with everyone in their chapter, district and federation.  President Obama and Congress need to hear from you.

Logistics:  Reaching policymakers in Washington, D.C. is easy and only takes a few minutes. Even if you've never called Congress before, now is the time. Use the toll free numbers and follow the simple instructions below:

Step 1: Dial 1-866-220-0044 for the Capitol. Ask the operator to connect you to your Senator's office or Representatives office or supply your ZIP Code.

Step 2: Tell the staff person who answers the telephone next where you live so they know you are a constituent, then say:

I am a retired/active federal employee who [tell the staff person a little about your work].

I am calling because I want to voice my opposition to any attempt to shift the cost of the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program onto employees and retirees.

IF RETIREE - A FEHBP contribution increase would squeeze millions of middle-class federal retirees like me - most of whom are on a fixed income - forcing seniors to choose between healthcare premiums and groceries and gas.

IF ACTIVE - A FEHBP contribution increase would be a further burden when we are in the middle of a 2 year Federal pay freeze.

I also oppose any mandatory increase in the amount that federal employees must contribute to their retirement fund, which is nothing more than a 5 percent tax on 2.2 million middle-class families.

Just like those before them, current federal workers continue to be paid less than their private sector counter-parts.

We serve (or have served) our country proudly and shouldn't be unfairly singled out to bear the burden of fixing a budget problem we didn't create.

Step 3: Call 1-866-220-0044 again to reach the Capitol to deliver the same message to your other senator and your representative.

Step 4: The toll free number for the White House is 1-888-225-8418.  Call from 9am to 5pm EDT. You can make four effective phone calls (one representative, two senators and the President) in only about 10 minutes!

Obtaining the Hotline:  Thank you for using the Hotline.  This weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703/838-7780 and toll free at 1-877-217-8234), posted on NARFE's Internet, www.narfe.org, made available to NARFE-Net Coordinators; and sent to over 67,000 GEMS e-mail addresses.  Each delivery channel is a service of NARFE, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.

***
NARFE Legislative Hotline, number 758, released Friday, May 27th, 2011.  PROTECT America's Heartbeat campaign continues by e-mail and telephone.  The tentative date for the next Hotline is Friday, June 3rd.  (676 words; 4:35)
Protect America's Heartbeat:  Well over 20,000 NARFE activists have used Protect America's Heartbeat to send e-mail messages to the Congress and the White House, and NARFE members have placed over 2,500 calls to Congress and the White House.  But with federal employees and annuitants under attack, we cannot rest - we need you to speak up today. Use the Protect America's Heartbeat web site or the telephone instructions listed below to tell the Congress and President you are engaged and will hold them accountable.  Click here to tell Congress not to cut your earned benefits!
Floor and Committee Actions Impact Federal Employees:  Federal employees remain in the center of recent congressional action.  On Thursday, May 26th, the House Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce held a hearing titled “Downsizing the Federal Workforce.” The NARFE testimony (Click here) for the hearing is posted on the NARFE web site's “Congressional Testimony” section.  Many in Congress pretend dramatically fewer federal employees, paid less, will solve America's fiscal dilemma.  (Testimony URL: http://www.narfe.org/departments/home/articles.cfm?ID=2474 )

Telephone Campaign:  Launched last week, NARFE's telephone campaign continues.  President Joseph Beaudoin urges all members to both call themselves and share the telephone script and steps with everyone in their chapter, district and federation.  President Obama and Congress need to hear from you.
Logistics:  Reaching policymakers in Washington, D.C. is easy and only takes a few minutes. Even if you've never called Congress before, now is the time. Use the toll free numbers and follow the simple instructions below:

Step 1: Dial 1-866-220-0044 for the Capitol. Ask the operator to connect you to your Senator's office or Representatives office or supply your ZIP Code.
Step 2: Tell the staff person who answers the telephone next where you live so they know you are a constituent, then say:

I am a retired/active federal employee who [tell the staff person a little about your work].

I am calling because I want to voice my opposition to any attempt to shift the cost of the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program onto employees and retirees.

IF RETIREE - A FEHBP contribution increase would squeeze millions of middle-class federal retirees like me - most of whom are on a fixed income - forcing seniors to choose between healthcare premiums and groceries and gas.

IF ACTIVE - A FEHBP contribution increase would be a further burden when we are in the middle of a 2 year Federal pay freeze.

I also oppose any mandatory increase in the amount that federal employees must contribute to their retirement fund, which is nothing more than a 5% tax on 2.2 million middle-class families.

Just like those before them, current federal workers continue to be paid less than their private sector counter-parts.

We serve (or have served) our country proudly and shouldn't be unfairly singled out to bear the burden of fixing a budget problem we didn't create.
 

Step 3: Call 1-866-220-0044 again to reach the Capitol to deliver the same message to your other senator and your representative.

Step 4: The toll free number for the White House is 1-888-225-8418.  Call from 9am to 5pm EDT. You can make four effective phone calls (one representative, two senators and the President) in only about 10 minutes!

Fight Being A Scapegoated:  Every new proposal to tax or slash the federal workforce is a threat to every active and retired federal worker. Washington is making it clear that they think our annuities are too generous - and that they think we can be easily scapegoated and singled out.

Obtaining the Hotline:  Thank you for using the Hotline.  This weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703/838-7780 and toll free at 1-877-217-8234), posted on NARFE's Internet, www.narfe.org, made available to NARFE-Net Coordinators; and sent to over 66,000 GEMS e-mail addresses.  Each delivery channel is a service of NARFE, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.

***

NARFE Legislative Hotline, number 756, released Wednesday, May 11th, 2011.  President Beaudoin urges each NARFE member to send a new message to the Senate.  The next scheduled Hotline, is set for Friday, May 20th.  (323 words; 2:14)

Featured Action:  The Senate will be voting soon on the House passed Budget Resolution (House Concurrent Resolution 34) which includes $375 billion in savings over ten years from current and retired federal employees.  Visit the newly updated www.ProtectAmericasHeartbeat.org to send a message to your Senators telling them to vote “no.”  The stakes are high - act now!
Toolkit Centralizes Resources:  The Protect America's Heartbeat “toolkit” is now available on the Protect America's Heartbeat website under “Resources”.  The toolkit will give you the facts about federal worker and retiree compensation and benefits --
and resources to raise your voice in your community.  Here is the link:  Protect America's Heartbeat Tool Kit .

New Congressional Directory:  NARFE's Congressional Directory for the 112th Congress (2011-2012) can be ordered using the form on page 17 of the May issue of NARFE magazine.  In addition to 190 pages of maps, photos and listings there are 20 pages specific to the NARFE edition. The cost remains $20.  Chapters and Federations should purchase copies for legislative leaders.
NARFE Supported Food Drive:  The Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, sponsored by the National Association of Letter Carriers and supported by NARFE, is the nation's largest single-day food drive.  NARFE members are urged to collect and bag non-perishable food items and place the bag by your mailbox for your city or rural letter carrier on Saturday, May 14, 2011.

Obtaining the Hotline:  Thank you for using the Hotline.  This weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703/838-7780 and toll free at 1-877-217-8234), posted on NARFE's Internet, www.narfe.org, made available to NARFE-Net Coordinators; and sent to over 65,000 GEMS e-mail addresses.  Each delivery channel is a service of NARFE, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.
***

NARFE Legislative Hotline, number 755, released Friday, April 22nd, 2011.  Protect America's Heartbeat is our lead.  The next scheduled Hotline is set for Friday, May 6th.  (480 words; 3:14)

Featured Action:  NARFE's campaign to Protect America's Heartbeat continues.  To date NARFE members and allied individuals have sent 88,988 e-mail messages and 898 printed letters to our Congressional delegations.  If you have not already, Click here to tell Congress not to cut your earned benefits!

Toolkit Centralizes Resources:  The Protect America's Heartbeat “toolkit” is now on the Protect America's Heartbeat website under “Resources”.  The toolkit will give you the facts about federal worker and retiree compensation and benefits --
and resources to raise your voice in your community.  Here is the link:  Protect America's Heartbeat Tool Kit .

Easter-Passover Recess:  Both the House and Senate have recessed for Passover and Easter.  This recess is the longest until the August-Labor Day recess.  Most Members are in their states and districts until May 2nd.  This recess would be the ideal time to meet your congressional delegation and tell them face-to-face that federal employees and retirees reject being used as budget scapegoats.  Use the information in this Hotline and the Protect America's Heartbeat campaign toolkit to defend the benefits earned by long federal service.

New Congressional Directory:  NARFE's Congressional Directory for the 112th Congress (2011-2012) can be ordered using the form on page 17 of both the April and May issues of NARFE magazine.  In addition to 190 pages of maps, photos and listings there are 20 pages specific to the NARFE edition. The cost remains $20.  Chapters and Federations should purchase copies for legislative leaders.  (The order form is also posted on the NARFE home page, www.narfe.org.)

NARFE Supported Food Drive:  The Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, sponsored by the National Association of Letter Carriers and supported by NARFE, is the nation's largest single-day food drive.  Feeding America (http://feedingamerica.org/default.aspx) reports food banks in most areas of the country have low food stocks and high demand.  On SATURDAY, May 14, the National Association of Letter Carriers (www.nalc.org) and National Rural Carriers Association will conduct their 19th annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive.  In 2010, this NARFE supported drive delivered 73.1 MILLION pounds of non-perishable items donated by postal patrons to local food organizations.  NARFE members are urged to collect and bag non-perishable food items and place the bag by your mailbox for your city or rural letter carrier on Saturday, May 14, 2011.  Results of the Food Drive will be reported to NARFE members.

Obtaining the Hotline:  Thank you for using the Hotline.  This weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703/838-7780 and toll free at 1-877-217-8234), posted on NARFE's Internet, www.narfe.org, made available to NARFE-Net Coordinators; and sent to over 65,000 GEMS e-mail addresses.  Each delivery channel is a service of NARFE, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.
***
NARFE Legislative Hotline, number 754, released Friday, April 15th, 2011.  This edition leads with House passage of a budget resolution. Despite the Easter-Passover recess, April 16 through May 1st, there will be a special Hotline during the week of April 18th.  (582 words; 3:48)

House Passes Ryan Budget: On April 15th, the House adopted a budget resolution for the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2011, sending it to the Senate.  The Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for FY 2012, House Concurrent Resolution 34 authored by Budget Committee Chairman, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-WI, passed the House on a nearly party line vote of 235-193.  Four competing plans were considered and defeated.  H.C. Res. 34 would reduce spending by $4.4 trillion over 10 years.  $375 billion of these ten year savings would come from current and retired federal employees.  These cuts include:

1) Requiring FERS and CSRS covered employees to contribute substantially more to their retirement

2)  Freezing federal pay for 5 years

3)  Reducing federal workforce by 10 percent over 3 years

Continuing Appropriations:  On April 14th, the House passed the spending plan, H.R. 1473, appropriating funds for the balance of the current fiscal year.  H.R. 1473 passed the House by a bipartisan vote of 260 to 167 (To see the House vote use: http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2011/roll268.xml)  H.R. 1473 passed the Senate by an overwhelming vote of 81-19.

(To see the Senate vote use:

http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=112&session=1&vote=00061#state)

H.R. 1473 awaits a promised Presidential signature.

Easter-Passover Recess:  Both the House and Senate have recessed for Easter and Passover. This recess is the longest until the August-Summer recess.  Most Members will return to their states and districts until May 2nd.  This recess would be the perfect time to meet your congressional delegation and tell them face-to-face that federal employees and retirees reject being used as budget scapegoats.  Use the information in this Hotline and the PROTECT America's Heartbeat campaign to defend the benefits earned by long federal service.

Featured Action:  NARFE's campaign to Protect America's Heartbeat continues.  To date 16,031 NARFE members and allied individuals have sent 83,956 e-mail messages and 883 printed letters to our Congressional delegations.  If you have not already, Click here to tell Congress not to cut your earned benefits!

New Congressional Directory:  NARFE's Congressional Directory for the 112th Congress (2011-2012) can be ordered using the form on page 17 of both the April and May issues of NARFE magazine.  In addition to 190 pages of maps, photos and listings there are 20 pages specific to the NARFE edition. The cost remains $20.  Chapters and Federations should purchase copies for legislative leaders.  Previously paid orders are being mailed April 15th.

Consumer Prices Jump Again:  For the third consecutive month consumer prices increased more than expected mostly due to food and fuel.  The March Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Worker (CPI-W) rose 1.1 percent.  The index now stands at 220.024, 2.1 percent above the 2008 third quarter average, 215.495.  April consumer price indices will be released Friday, the 13th of May, 2011.  More information is available from the home page on our web site.  (The Direct link to the “COLA Update” is http://www.narfe.org/departments/home/articles.cfm?ID=942)

Obtaining the Hotline:  Thank you for using the Hotline.  This weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703/838-7780 and toll free at 1-877-217-8234), posted on NARFE's Internet, http://www.narfe.org, made available to NARFE-Net Coordinators; and sent to over 65,000 GEMS e-mail addresses.  Each delivery channel is a service of NARFE, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.

***
How the Shutdown May Affect Federal Workers and Annuitants

Federal Employee Pay:  According to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), federal employees who are asked to keep working during a shutdown will be paid once a budget deal to resume government operations is passed.

However, it will be up to Congress to decide whether to pay furloughed employees. Congress did so after the 1995 and 1996 shutdowns, but that may not happen this time, particularly given the demonization of federal workers by some lawmakers.

Annuity Benefits: Judging from similar government shutdowns in the past, and the fact that OPM retirement operations are not funded through general revenues, retirees should expect to receive their annuity payments deposited into their accounts or received in the mail, on time as usual. OPM sends annuity payment tapes to the Department of Treasury in the middle of the month prior to the payment date so that Treasury has time to process the payment tapes/cut checks and ensure that annuity payments are received by the first of the month.

Health, Life, and Long-Term Care Benefits:  Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, Federal Employees Group Life Insurance, FEDVIP (dental/vision insurance), and Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program premiums will continue to be withheld and paid by OPM. There will be no interruption in insurance coverage.

Retirement Processing:  For those newly retired employees, a government shutdown may delay the processing of your paperwork by your agency, prior to your records being sent to OPM. For those recent retirees whose retirement OPM has already begun to process, there should be no additional delay caused by a government shutdown for the reasons given above.

Retirement and Benefits Information:  OPM staff responsible for answering the retirement and health benefits questions asked by federal workers and annuitants will be available during the shutdown.  If there is a shutdown, NARFE members will continue to have access to this information by calling or e-mailing the NARFE Retirement Benefits Service Department.

Thrift Savings Plan: The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board has stated that a federal government shutdown would not affect the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) since it does not receive annual appropriations from Congress. The TSP would operate during such a period as usual.

Other Federal Benefits

 The Department of Veterans Affair’s (VA) operational plans are still being finalized, but our current understanding is the following:

    Thanks to advance appropriations (a two-year budget cycle), VA will continue to provide 100 percent of health care services to enrolled veterans through VA medical facilities across the country.  Veterans' medical appointments will not be canceled or delayed in the event of a partial governmentwide shutdown.

     Advance appropriations, received from Congress, account for more than 80 percent of the VA's discretionary appropriations.

    While there will be a reduction in benefits staffing, the VA has taken measures to ensure, in the short-term, that veterans currently receiving VA benefits will continue to receive those payments on a timely basis and without interruption.

    The VA will also continue to provide final resting places at our national cemeteries in the event of a partial governmentwide shutdown.  Some cemeteries may operate on a modified schedule.

    Some VA services that may be suspended in the event of a partial governmentwide shut down involve answering consumer inquiries by e-mail, telephone or mail, routine recruiting, hiring and training, and fraud investigations.

Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid:  Others, like the Social Security Administration and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, operate under indefinite appropriations.  In such cases benefits payments continue to be issued and honored by the Department of the Treasury because there is no lapse in the relevant appropriations.
 

Complied by the NARFE Legislation and Retirement Benefits Service Department on April 7, 2011
***

ALL NARFE CHAPTERS AND FEDERATIONS MUST FILE IRS RETURNS.
 

For the fourth consecutive year, in 2011, the IRS requires all NARFE chapters and federations, without exception, to file a tax return regardless of how much income they earned in 2010.  If you did not have any taxable income in 2010, you will still need to file Form 990-N, Electronic Notice (e-Postcard) for Tax-Exempt Organizations.  This form is only available on the internet.

 The IRS will revoke the tax-exempt status of your organization if you fail to file your taxes for three consecutive years.  You will have to apply (or reapply) and pay the appropriate user fee to have your tax-exempt status reinstated if it is revoked because you failed to file for three consecutive years.

 In order to file any return with the IRS it is important that you know your organization’s EIN number.  If you do not know your organization’s EIN number, contact the Budget and Finance department at (703) 838 7760 or email budfin@narfe.org .  In addition, you must show NARFE’s group exemption, GEN 1599, on IRS Forms 990T and 990, and on all correspondence to the IRS.  This number identifies your chapter or federation as a subordinate of NARFE under the group exemption letter.

 These are the new 990 Filing thresholds for the 2010 tax year.

    File Form 990-N, Electronic Notice (e-Postcard) for Tax-Exempt Organizations which is only available on the internet at http://epostcard.form990.org/  if your federation or chapter gross receipts are $50,000 or less, for tax years ending on or after December 31, 2010. Gross receipts are considered to be $50,000 or less if the organization:

        Has been in existence for 1 year or less and received, or donors have pledged to give, $75,000 or less during its first taxable year;
        Has been in existence between 1 and 3 years and averaged $60,000 or less in gross receipts during each of its first two tax years; and
        Is at least 3 years old and averaged $50,000 or less in gross receipts for the immediately preceding 3 tax years (including 2010).

    File a Form 990, “Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax” (or the short form, 990-EZ)  if your organization had gross receipts greater than $50,000 but less than  $200,000 and total assets less than $500,000. Organizations with gross receipts of $200,000 or more, or total assets of $500,000 or more, must file Form 990 and “NOT” the 990-EZ.

    File a Form 990-T, “Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Return” with the IRS if, in 2010, your federation or chapter had income (revenue minus cost of goods sold) of $1,000 or more derived from an activity that was substantially unrelated to the main purpose of your federation or chapter.  Membership dues, interest on dues, bake sales, white elephant sales, etc. are excluded but revenues such as advertising revenue are included.

Obtain forms and instructions for completing the tax returns from your nearest IRS office or online at http://www.irs.gov/app/picklist/list/formsInstructions.html

As discussed above, chapters and federations that do not meet the requirements for filing the 990 or 990-EZ form must file Form 990-N, also known as the e-Postcard, electronically with the IRS annually.  Form 990-N is not available in paper form.  It is only available online at:

http://epostcard.form990.org/

The e-Postcard will require you to provide general information about your chapter or federation.  You should provide the name of a chapter or federation officer (usually the president) and an address for your organization.  Do not use the Alexandria, Virginia address of NARFE headquarters.

If a chapter or federation files the Form 990 or Form 990-EZ instead of the e-Postcard (Form 990-N) it must complete the entire return.  Incomplete or partially completed forms will not satisfy the annual filing requirement.

The filing deadline for all IRS Forms is the 15th day of the 5th month your fiscal year.  Hence, if your fiscal year ends on December 31, 2010, you must file by May 15, 2011.

 NOTE:  NARFE is a 501(C)(5) organization and is exempt from federal income taxes.  However, NARFE and its subordinate units are not exempt from state and local sales taxes.
 

***

NARFE Legislative Hotline, number 751, released March 5th, 2011.  Preparation for phone calls to congressional delegations on March 8th and the beginning of Executive-Congressional budget negotiations are covered.  The next scheduled Hotline, is set for Friday, March 11th.  (446 words; 3:02)

FEATURED ACTION:  Call Congress on March 8th!  On Tuesday, March 8th, nearly 300 NARFE officers and activists will climb Capitol Hill to meet with their lawmakers as part of NARFE's biennial Legislative Training Conference.  It is within your power to make their visits more productive.

Add your voice on Tuesday, March 8! Call toll-free 1-866-220-0044 to reach your Congressional delegation on March 8th. It's easy:

  1. On TUESDAY, March 8th, call NARFE's toll-free number 1-866-220-0044 to reach your representatives
   2.Supply your ZIP Code to the person who answers, or ask for your representative and senators by name
  3. Once connected to your lawmaker's office, say: “Federal workers and retirees have already sacrificed pay and benefits.  Don't single us out by making more cuts to the retirement and health benefits we earned through years of serving the public.”
   4. Ask to be transferred back to the congressional switchboard and place another call. Make sure to call both senators and your representative!

The Adult Conversation Begins:  With a 2-week respite to any government shutdown through March 18th reached, House Speaker John Boehner, R-OH, and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, have accepted President Obama's offer to begin face-to-face spending cut negotiations regarding current fiscal year 2011 funding with the administration.  On March 3rd, the Republican leaders met with Vice President Biden, White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley and Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew, along with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-CA.  Treasury Secretary Geithner, Lew and Daley had met with top House Democrats March 2nd to plot strategy.

The fight over current year funding is a warm up act for the battle over the fiscal year 2012, when reductions to federal retirement and health benefits are likely to be considered.  Indeed, budget hawks in Congress will insist on unprecedented spending cuts in exchange for their vote for a needed increase in the statutory limit on the public debt.  According to the Treasury Department, the debt limit will be reached sometime between April 15 and May 31.

Obtaining the Hotline:  Thank you for using the Hotline.  This weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703/838-7780 and toll free at 1-877-217-8234), posted on NARFE's Internet site, www.narfe.org, made available to NARFE-Net Coordinators; and sent to over 61,000 GEMS e-mail addresses.  Each delivery channel is a service of NARFE, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.
***

NARFE Legislative Hotline, number 750, released February 25th, 2011.  Preparation for phone calls to congressional delegations on March 8th and NARFE's victory on February 19th are covered.  The next scheduled Hotline, is set for Friday, March 4th.  (546 words; 3:25)

Fight Back by Telephone on March 8th:  On Tuesday, March 8th, nearly 300 NARFE officers and activists are scheduled to descend on Capitol Hill to meet with their lawmakers as part of NARFE's biennial Legislative Training Conference.  Leverage their attendance with your voice by calling toll free to your Congressional delegation on March 8th.  Page 10 of the March magazine provides a CUT AND SAVE feature which appears at the end of this Hotline.  The toll free number for reaching the Capitol switchboard is 1-866-220-0044.

Convene This Message: Once connected to your lawmaker's office, NARFE members should say: “Federal workers and retirees have already sacrificed pay and benefits.  Don't single us out by making more cuts to the retirement and health benefits we earned through years of serving the public.”

NARFE Victory: Issa Amendment Defeated:  The federal community won a major victory on February 19th when the amendment (#569) offered by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-CA, was defeated by a vote of 191 to 230.  The Issa amendment would go beyond the current two-year federal employee pay freeze by banning merit-based, step increases, which are small increases awarded to federal employees based on the successful performance of their work.  Use the Legislative Action Center on the NARFE web site to find how your Representative voted.  If he or she voted NO, the NARFE position, call or write to say THANK YOU. This is especially important for the 46 Congressional Districts where House Republicans, “crossed the aisle” and voted NO.  (The Gateway to viewing the House vote by state delegation is http://narfe.capwiz.com/narfe/vote.xc/?votenum=133&chamber=H&congress=1121&voteid=29926506&state=US )

Looming Deadline:  March 4th is the deadline for Congress and the President to agree on a further continuing resolution to continue funding the government.  House Speaker John Boehner, R-OH, has proposed a two week extension with relatively modest spending reductions and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, has signaled Senate Democrats would begin looking for new cuts below the spending freeze proposed by President Obama.  If a partial government shutdown would occur, the 1995-1996 shutdown provides the precedent of declaring federal employees responsible for providing monthly civil service retirement benefits as “essential personnel.”  Annuity payments would continue.

Web Gem:  Today's Washington Post Federal Eye by Ed O'Keefe prompted a response by Lisa Rein who quoted NARFE's Legislative Director, Dan Adcock on the 1995 government shutdown.  “There are some elected officials making the claim that if the government shuts down, no one will notice because it's irrelevant in people's lives," Adcock said. "But people don't remember what happened back [when the federal government shut down] in 1995. People were burning up the Capitol's switchboards to get the government to reopen."   This web only feature is posted at http://voices.washingtonpost.com/federal-eye/

Obtaining the Hotline:  Thank you for using the Hotline.  This weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703/838-7780 and toll free at 1-877-217-8234), posted on NARFE's Internet site, www.narfe.org, made available to NARFE-Net Coordinators; and sent to over 61,000 GEMS e-mail addresses.  Each delivery channel is a service of NARFE, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.


Federal Workers and Retirees: Now Is the Time to Fight Back!

The fight to defend the earned retirement, pay and health benefits of federal workers and annuitants is happening now.

On Tuesday, March 8, some 300 NARFE officers and activists are scheduled to descend on Capitol Hill to meet with their lawmakers as part of NARFE's biannual National Legislative Training Conference. Add your voice to theirs. Call your lawmakers on March 8.

Just follow these steps:

Call 866-220-0044 (toll-free) to reach the U.S. Capitol switchboard and ask for your representative and senators by name or supply your ZIP code.

Once connected to your lawmaker's office, NARFE members should say:

* Federal workers and retirees have already sacrificed pay and benefits.

* Don't single us out by making more cuts to the retirement and health benefits we earned through years of serving the public.

Whether you leave a recorded message or speak to a staff person, request that your lawmaker respond in writing to your phone call. For that reason, be sure to leave your mailing address.

Only contact your own representative and two senators. Lawmakers will disregard your message if you are not a voting constituent.

Federal workers and retirees have already sacrificed so much. Don't let Congress slash the retirement and health benefits you have earned! Pick up your phone on March 8. 

***

NARFE Legislative Hotline, number 749, released February 18th, 2011.  This edition urges meetings with legislators during Constituent Work Week and covers the Obama Administration's Fiscal 2012 budget submission.  The next scheduled Hotline, is set for Friday, February 25th.  (605 words; 4:15)

FEATURED ACTION: Time to Fight Back.  Face-to-face meetings with and telephone calls to Members of Congress have never been more important. Next week (February 21-25) Congressional delegations are back home for Constituent Work Week. Take this opportunity to speak out against cuts in federal retirement, pay and health benefits! Click here to find more information about how to contact your local representatives:  http://capwiz.com/narfe/dbq/officials/ Use the NARFE Legislative Department as a resource: leg@narfe.org or 703/838-7760.

Fight Back by Telephone on March 8th:  On Tuesday, March 8th, some 300 NARFE officers and activists are scheduled to descend on Capitol Hill to meet with their lawmakers as part of NARFE's biennial Legislative Training Conference.  Add your voice to theirs by calling toll free to your Congressional delegation on March 8th.  Page 10 of the March magazine provides a CUT AND SAVE feature with complete information including request for response in writing from lawmakers.  The toll free number for reaching the Capitol switchboard is 1-866-220-0044.

President Obama's FY 2012 Budget:  The fiscal year (FY) 2012 budget submitted by President Obama to Congress on February 14 recommends freezing federal civilian salaries for the second year in a row and cutting non-defense discretionary spending by $400 billion from a five-year freeze in this area.  Other plans to reduce federal civilian retirement and health benefits suggested in December 2010 by the President's Bipartisan Fiscal Commission were not included in Obama's 2012 budget.

“This is the President's opening volley in the budget fight with Congress where most everything will be on the table, including the earned retirement, pay and health benefits of federal employees, retirees and survivors,” said NARFE President Joseph Beaudoin.  President Beaudoin comments on the budget were quoted by several media outlets this week, including the Wall Street Journal .

House Voting on Cuts to Current Year Spending:  The House of Representatives is expected to meet late into the night for a third consecutive day to consider dozens of amendments to H.R. 1, the House Republican Leadership's bill to reduce spending during the balance of the current 2011 fiscal year.  The current spending authority expires on March 4th and the federal government could shutdown if Congress and the President fail to enact another continuing appropriations bill.  On February 16th, President Beaudoin sent a letter to all 435 Representatives urging them to vote against amendment #569 offered by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-CA, to H.R. 1.  The Issa amendment would go beyond the current pay freeze by banning step increases, which are small increases awardable to federal employees based on the successful performance of their work.

Consumer Prices Jump Again:  For the second consecutive month consumer prices increased more than expected mostly due to food and fuel.  The January Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Worker (CPI-W) rose 0.5 percent.  The index now stands at 216.400, 0.42 percent above the 2008 third quarter average, 215.495.  February consumer price indices will be released Thursday, March 17, 2011.

More information about the COLA Update can be found here on the NARFE website.
http://www.narfe.org
Obtaining the Hotline:  Thank you for using the Hotline.  This weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703/838-7780 and toll free at 1-877-217-8234), posted on NARFE's Internet site, www.narfe.org, made available to NARFE-Net Coordinators; and sent to over 58,000 GEMS e-mail addresses.  Each delivery channel is a service of NARFE, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.

***

NARFE Legislative Hotline, number 748, released February 11th, 2011.  The launch of NARFE “Protect America's Heartbeat” is our lead.  The next scheduled Hotline, set for Friday, February 18th, will report January consumer prices.  (599 words; 3:55)

FEATURED ACTION:  NARFE is launching an aggressive national campaign: “Protect America's Heartbeat.”  Visit  http//www.ProtectAmericasHeartbeat.org , to send NARFE's message to your congressional delegation, one Representative and both Senators.  Other content will also become available soon.

March Issue of NARFE Magazine:  NARFE President Joseph A. Beaudoin issued A SPECIAL MESSAGE, “NARFE Responds to Attacks on Federal Workers and Retirees!” on page 38 of the March magazine.

Time to Fight Back:  Both the February Constituent Work Week, February 21st through 25th, and Tuesday, March 8th, are perfect occasions for each NARFE member to meet with and telephone their Congressional delegation.  Given the imminent fight against anticipated cuts in federal retirement, pay and health benefits, face-to-face meetings with and telephone calls to Members of Congress have never before been so important.

Fight Back by Telephone:  All NARFE members can leverage the March 8th congressional visits of fellow NARFE members by planning a toll free call to their Congressional delegation on March 8th.  Page 10 of the March magazine provides a CUT AND SAVE feature with complete information including request for response in writing from lawmakers.

High Expectations:  On February 11th, President Beaudoin sent a letter to all 435 members of the House of Representatives to congratulate them on their election and to offer NARFE's assistance with their federal civil service retirement and benefit questions.  In addition, President Beaudoin told lawmakers that NARFE chapter and federation leaders will seek face-to-face meetings during the President's Day recess, February 21st through 25th and/or other mutually agreed date.  Federation leaders need Chapter and District activists to step up to coordinate visits to local congressional and s-tate offices, particularly to freshmen legislators with no prior federal civil service experience or relationship with NARFE.  Contact information for NARFE's 54 Federation Presidents is posted on NARFE web site.  From the home page, www.narfe.org, select NARFE LEADERSHIP BIOS and scroll to the bottom of the page.  (The direct URL is: http://www.narfe.org/departments/home/articles.cfm?ID=2276)

Legislative Training Conference Fills:  A late surge to attend NARFE's 2011 Legislative Training Conference has completely filled the host hotel.  Still, day trippers or persons able to find other lodging may register for the conference to be held Saturday, March 5th through Tuesday, March 8th, at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, VA.  Members can register using the NARFE web site.  From the home page, select LEGISLATION, log in as a member and find “CLICK HERE” under the colorful Logo for NARFE 2011 LEGISLATIVE TRAINING CONFERENCE.  A tentative agenda is available there.

Congressional Directory: The NARFE Congressional Directory for the 112th Congress will become available in late March or early April.  This popular directory CANNOT be ordered now but an order form will appear in the April issue of NARFE magazine.

Web Gems:  Congress Merge continues to be one of the best free sites for “all on one page” information about Members of Congress including DC address, phone, fax, web address, and web contact form.  Key staff, committee and subcommittee assignments, and district office locations with links to Google Maps ® are also provided.

Obtaining the Hotline:  Thank you for using the Hotline.  This weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703/838-7780 and toll free at 1-877-217-8234), posted on NARFE's Internet site, http://www.narfe.org, made available to NARFE-Net Coordinators; and sent to over 58,000 GEMS e-mail addresses.  Each delivery channel is a service of NARFE, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.
***

NARFE Legislative Hotline, number 747, released February 4th, 2011.  NARFE's 2011 Legislative Training Conference is our lead.  The next scheduled Hotline is set for Friday, February 11th.  (501 words; 3:03)

Participation in Legislative Conference Never More Important: Given the imminent fight against anticipated cuts in federal retirement, pay and health benefits, participation by NARFE officers and activists in the Legislative Training Conference has never before been so important.  If there was every a time for Federations to use their “10 percent funds” to send their promising leaders - this is it.

Any NARFE member can register to attend the 2011 Legislative Training Conference, to be held Saturday, March 5th through Tuesday, March 8th, at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, VA.  Both the January (pages 18-19) and February (pages 16-17) issue of NARFE supplied details.  Members can register using the NARFE web site, www.narfe.org.  A “CLICK HERE” appears on the home page under the colorful Logo for NARFE 2011 LEGISLATIVE TRAINING CONFERENCE.  A tentative agenda is available there.  Make room reservations by contacting the Hyatt Regency Crystal City directly at 1-888-421-1442.  Specify that the room is part of the NARFE Legislative Training Conference at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City.  The deadline for hotel and conference registration for NARFE's 2011 Legislative Training Conference is this Tuesday, February 8.

Time to Meet Congress is NOW:  Being among the first to meet with new and returning Members of the 112th Congress (2011-2012) will distinguish NARFE members from the thousands of groups represented in Washington but lacking active members in every state and district.  The Legislative Action Center (LAC) on our web site provides an easy way for NARFE members to locate information about every Member of Congress including links to Member's web sites.  Most new Representatives are using an “off the shelf” web site.  From this standard home page, select “CONTACT ME.”  The new options are 1) Email Me, 2) Invite Me to Speak and 3) Newsletter Subscribe.  (To find Members by name or state www.capwiz.com/narfe/dbq/officials)

Congressional Directory:  The NARFE Congressional Directory for the 112th Congress will become available in late March or early April. The NARFE Congressional Directory will be advertised by this Legislative Hotline and NARFE magazine will include an order form.  This popular directory CANNOT be ordered now.

Web Gems:  The official web sites of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, www.house.gov and www.senate.gov, provide facts about the chamber and act as gateways to many other web sites.  (A list of Senate office suites, updated January 21, is available at http://www.senate.gov/general/resources/pdf/senators_phone_list.pdf   A list of Senators, providing mailing address, phone number and web form address is available at http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm?OrderBy=state&Sort=ASC )

Obtaining the Hotline:  Thank you for using the Hotline.  This weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703/838-7780 and toll free at 1-877-217-8234), posted on NARFE's Internet site, www.narfe.org, made available to NARFE-Net Coordinators; and sent to over 58,000 GEMS e-mail addresses.  Each delivery channel is a service of NARFE, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.

***
NARFE Legislative Hotline, number 746, released January 28, 2011.  This edition leads with a recent report of the Congressional Budget Office.  The next scheduled Hotline is set for Friday, February 4th.  (542 words; 3:47)

CBO Revises Deficit Projection:  On January 26, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) dramatically upped its projection of the fiscal 2011 federal deficit, estimating that the difference between government expenditures and revenues would reach $1.480 trillion by the end of the current fiscal year on September 30. The last CBO projection, in August, was for a $1.066 trillion deficit in fiscal 2011. The deficit for fiscal 2010, which ended Oct. 1, was $1.294 trillion. The fiscal 2009 deficit remains, for now, the biggest in American history at $1.416 trillion. A deficit of record size will make our task of protecting the earned benefits of federal employees and retirees more difficult. (The full CBO report on The Budget and Economic Outlook (190 pages) is readily available from the CBO home page, http://www.cbo.gov)

Oversight and Government Reform Committee:  Last week the Hotline reported that newly elected Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) will chair the House Oversight and Government Reform's Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and Labor Policy Subcommittee.  A complete committee roster is available on the Legislative Action Center portion of our web site.  (Use http://capwiz.com/narfe/directory/committees.tt?&commid=hgove for the full committee and http://capwiz.com/narfe/directory/committees.tt?&commid=hgove2&pcommid=hgove for the Federal Workforce Subcommittee.)

Time to Meet Congress is NOW:  Being among the first to meet with new and returning Members of the 112th Congress will distinguish NARFE members from the thousands of groups represented in Washington but lacking active members in every state and district.  The Legislative Action Center (LAC) on our web site provides an easy way for NARFE members to locate information about every Member of Congress including links to Member's web sites.  Most new Representatives are using an “off the shelf” web site.  From this standard home page, select “CONTACT ME.”  The new options are 1) Email Me, 2) Invite Me to Speak and 3) Newsletter Subscribe.  (To find Members by name or state www.capwiz.com/narfe/dbq/officials)

Educating Members:  The 95 newest members of the House and 16 new Senators have had little exposure to the federal civil service.  Chapter and federation outreach resulting in individual or group meetings held NOW will produce ENORMOUS benefits down the road.  The next best time to meet face-to-face with lawmakers is the upcoming Presidents' Day recess the week of February 21-25.  Meetings should cover income security and health security issues.  NARFE's toll free number for the Capitol switchboard, 1-866-220-0044, can be used to reach any Representative or Senator.  Review the NARFE talking points covering the Fiscal Commission's proposals to cut federal retirement, pay and health benefits and provide a copy to your congressional delegation or their staff.  NARFE members can find the Talking Points by logging on to the NARFE web site, selecting Legislation and looking on the left under LEGISLATIVE Publications.

Obtaining the Hotline:  Thank you for using the Hotline.  This weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703/838-7780 and toll free at 1-877-217-8234), posted on NARFE's Internet site, www.narfe.org, made available to NARFE-Net Coordinators; and sent to over 57,000 GEMS e-mail addresses.  Each delivery channel is a service of NARFE, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.

***


































Dear NARFE member,

In an effort to provide you with the latest tools to plan your retirement, I am pleased to announce that NARFE is now offering members exclusive access to an easy-to-use set of online retirement planning tools, including a retirement benefits calculator.

eSeminar Plus was developed by Economic Systems Inc. of Falls Church, VA, and is believed by many retirement experts to be the best available. Previously, the program was available only to federal agencies, but NARFE members can now have access for a small subscription fee.

We are thrilled to be able to offer this outstanding service to you. We think ALL members, both active and retired, can benefit tremendously from Economic Systems’ online retirement calculator and financial planning eSeminars.

eSeminar Plus consists of three retirement planning and financial literacy modules that you can access over the Internet anytime, anywhere:

Federal Retirement Benefits for Employees (FRB – E): An easy-to-use federal retirement calculator that allows employees to estimate their federal retirement annuity, Social Security and Thrift Savings Plan benefits. Additionally, if employees are currently enrolled in the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or CSRS Offset and returning to federal service within one year after separation, employees may make comparisons between their benefits if they remain in the CSRS or CSRS Offset or transfer to Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) retirement coverage.

Financial Benefits Maximizer (FBM): A self-service financial planning tool in which employees or retirees can develop calculations to project their household’s financial future. A complete financial planner, FBM goes beyond federal benefits to include other savings and investments, as well as expenses, to determine your current and future financial status and the extent to which you may meet your retirement income goals.

eSeminar: An employee self-service retirement and financial planning seminar that parallels a “live” seminar. eSeminar enhances your awareness of federal retirement-related topics as well as provide important personal financial management information in a flexible and easily navigated format.

Six-month subscriptions are available only to NARFE members for $29.95. To purchase a subscription, go to www.narfe.org.

Sincerely,

Joseph A. Beaudoin, National President
 
 


This message is generated by the NARFE Global Email Messaging System (GEMS). Please do not reply to this message. If you wish to reply to this message, please compose a new message to the sender. To stop receiving these messages, simply visit our web site at www.narfe.org and remove your e-mail address from your membership record or email us at memberrecords@narfe.org.
***

NARFE Legislative Hotline, number 745, released January 21, 2011.  This edition covers Congressional developments.  The next scheduled Hotline is set for Friday, January 28th.  (663 words; 3:54)

Feds Prominent in Deficit Reduction Plan:  The Republican Study Committee's "Spending Reduction Act of 2011" seeks to eliminate $2.5 trillion in spending over a 10-year period.  While exempting defense spending from the cuts, the RSC plan would extend President Obama's pay freeze on federal employees from two years to five, cut the civil service workforce by 15 percent through attrition over a decade, and prohibit federal workers from serving as union officials on government time.  (78 page text at http://rsc.jordan.house.gov/UploadedFiles/JORDAN_004_xml.pdf)

Workforce Chair Named:  Newly elected Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) will chair the House Oversight and Government Reform's Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and Labor Policy Subcommittee.  Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) who previously chaired this subcommittee will serve as the Ranking Member.  (More information on the full committee is available on the Legislative Action Center portion of our web site, www.narfe.org, or directly using

http://capwiz.com/narfe/directory/committees.tt?&commid=hgove)

State of the Union:  On January 25th before a joint session of Congress, President Obama will deliver his State of the Union address.  Following the President, Rep. Paul Ryan, (R-WI), Chairman of the House Budget Committee, will deliver his party's official response.  (See H.CON.RES.10)

HHS Tasked to Coordinate Alzheimer's Action: On January 4, President Obama signed the National Alzheimer's Project Act into law (P.L. 111-375).  The National Alzheimer's Project Act will create a coordinated national plan to overcome the Alzheimer crisis and will ensure the coordination and evaluation of all national efforts in Alzheimer research, clinical care, institutional, and home- and community-based programs and their outcomes.

Time to Meet Congress is NOW:  Being among the first to meet with new and returning Members of the 112th Congress will distinguish NARFE members from the thousands of groups represented in Washington but lacking active members in every state and district.  The Legislative Action Center (LAC) on our web site provides an easy way for NARFE members to locate information about every Member of Congress including links to Member's web sites.  Most new Representatives are using an “off the shelf” web site.  From this standard home page, select “CONTACT ME.”  The new options are 1) Email Me, 2) Invite Me to Speak and 3) Newsletter Subscribe.  (To find Members by name or state www.capwiz.com/narfe/dbq/officials)

Educating Members:  The 95 new Members of the House and 16 new Senators have had little exposure to the federal civil service and may not even know there are any current or future federal retirees in their constituencies.  Chapter and federation outreach resulting in individual or group meetings held NOW will pay enormous dividends down the road.  In fact, the next best time to meet face-to-face with lawmakers is the upcoming Presidents' Day recess the week of February 21-25.  Meetings should cover income security and health security issues.  NARFE's toll free number for the Capitol switchboard, 1-866-220-0044, can be used to reach any Representative or Senator.  Review the NARFE talking points covering the Fiscal Commission's proposals to cut federal retirement, pay and health benefits and provide a copy to your congressional delegation or their staff.  NARFE members can find the Talking Points by logging on to the NARFE web site, selecting Legislation and looking on the left under LEGISLATIVE Publications.

Valuable, Free Subscription:  The Partnership for Public Service (PPS), a Washington advocacy group, collects news articles of interest to active and retired federal employees and distributes them by e-mail.  To sign up for this Monday through Friday e-mail go to:

 https://app.e2ma.net/app/view:Join/signupId:31852/mailingId:3350517/acctId:18951

As noted last week, the URL for AEI's e-subscriptions is:

http://esubscriptions.aei.org/aei_registration/prefs.aspx

Obtaining the Hotline:  Thank you for using the Hotline.  This weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703/838-7780 and toll free at 1-877-217-8234), posted on NARFE's Internet site, www.narfe.org, made available to NARFE-Net Coordinators; and sent to over 57,000 GEMS e-mail addresses.  Each delivery channel is a service of NARFE, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.

***

NARFE Legislative Hotline, number 744, released January 14, 2011.  This edition covers Congressional developments and December consumer price news.  The next scheduled Hotline is set for Friday, January 21st. (840 words; 4:54)

112th Congress Legislation:  As expected, components of President Obama'a Fiscal Commission's proposal and ideas from other “experts” are being translated into free-standing legislation.  Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) introduced legislation, H.R. 235, to substantially reduce spending in several areas and includes a three year freeze in federal salaries and gradual reduction in the number of federal employees.

Consumer Price Index: The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) increased 0.2 percent in December 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (http://bls.gov/cpi/or 202/691-6994).  Released on January 14th, the CPI-W for December is 215.262.  For purposes of calculating the next COLA (cost-of-living adjustment), the index is currently 0.1 percent below the 2008 third quarter average (due to price deflation, in the past measurement year, the 2008 third quarter average is still the point of comparison) base index of 215.5.  January consumer price indices will be released on Thursday, February 17, 2011.

FECA COLA is 1.7 Percent:  More importantly, December's data completes the measurement year for the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for benefits awarded under the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA) to individuals who left the workforce due to work-related injuries or illnesses.  FECA benefits are adjusted according to each calendar year's percentage change in the CPI-W and payable in the following year's month of April. Because December's index (215.262) is 1.7 percent higher than the December 2009 base of 211.703, there will be a 1.7 percent cost of living adjustment (COLA) for FECA beneficiaries who received NO COLA two years ago.

State of the Union: House Speaker John Boehner has formally invited President Obama to deliver his State of the Union address on January 25.  Speaker Boehner has not named a person to deliver the Republican response.

Time to Meet Congress is NOW:  Being among the first to meet with new and returning Members of the 112th Congress will distinguish NARFE members from the thousands of groups represented in Washington but lacking active members in every state and district.  The Legislative Action Center (LAC) on our web site provides an easy way for NARFE members to locate information about every Member of Congress including links to Member's web sites and forms to sign-up for regular e-mails.  A template or “Sample Congressional Delegation Letter” is available to NARFE members on the Legislation home page.  (To find Members by name or state use http://capwiz.com/narfe/dbq/officials/ )

Educating Members:  The 95 new Members of the House and 16 new Senators have had little exposure to the federal civil service and may not even know there are any current or future federal retirees in their constituencies.  Chapter and federation outreach resulting in individual or group meetings held NOW will pay enormous dividends down the road.  In fact, the next best time to meet face-to-face with lawmakers is the upcoming Presidents' Day recess the week of February 21-25.  Meetings should cover income security and health security issues.  NARFE's toll free number for the Capitol switchboard, 1-866-220-0044, can be used to reach any Representative or Senator.  Review the NARFE's talking points of the Fiscal Commission's proposals to cut federal retirement, pay and health benefits and provide a copy to your congressional delegation or their staff.  NARFE members can find the Talking Points by logging on to the NARFE web site, selecting Legislation and looking on the left under LEGISLATIVE Publications.

The Activists are Coming:  Any NARFE member can now register to attend NARFE's 2011 Legislative Training Conference, to be held Saturday, March 5th through Tuesday, March 8th, at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, VA.  We recommend each Federation use 10 percent funds to send promising leaders, especially emerging and potential federation officers.

Registration for 2011 Legislative Conference:  As reported in recent issues of NARFE magazine (January pages 18-19/February page 16-17), any NARFE member can register to attend.  For the first time, members can register using the NARFE web site, www.narfe.org.  A “CLICK HERE” appears on the home page under the colorful Logo for NARFE 2011 LEGISLATIVE TRAINING CONFERENCE.  Make room reservations by contacting the Hyatt Regency Crystal City directly at 1-888-421-1442.  Specify that the room is part of the NARFE Legislative Training Conference at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City.

Valuable, Free Subscription:  The Partnership for Public Service (PPS), a Washington advocacy group, collects news articles of interest to active and retired federal employees and distributes them by e-mail.  To sign up for this Monday through Friday e-mail go to:

 https://app.e2ma.net/app/view:Join/signupId:31852/mailingId:3350517/acctId:18951

As noted last week, the URL for AEI's e-subscriptions is:

http://esubscriptions.aei.org/aei_registration/prefs.aspx

Obtaining the Hotline:  Thank you for using the Hotline.  This weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703/838-7780 and toll free at 1-877-217-8234), posted on NARFE's Internet site, www.narfe.org, made available to NARFE-Net Coordinators; and sent to over 57,000 GEMS e-mail addresses.  Each delivery channel is a service of NARFE, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.

***
 
 

NARFE Legislative Hotline, number 743, released January 7, 2011.  The convening of the 112th Congress is our lead.  The next scheduled Hotline, set for Friday, January 14th, will report on December consumer prices especially important to FECA beneficiaries. (696 words; 4:28)

112th Congress Starts Work:  441 Members of the House of Representatives and 13 new Senators have been sworn-in, allowing the first session of the 112th Congress (2011-2012) to get underway.  While the House remained in session, the Senate is in recess until January 25th.

Huge Budget Cuts Loom:  Once the pomp and symbolism of the early session is over, NARFE is expecting the most challenging fight in a generation to defend our earned retirement, pay and health benefits during the upcoming congressional budget process.   Early indicators of how this year's budget process will play out include the President's state of the union address on January 25th, the release of the President's Budget in February and action on the annual congressional budget resolution in March and April.  The timing of this year's Budget Resolution coincides at the point in time when the national debt is expected to reach its statutory limit of $14.3 trillion.  The debt limit and Budget Resolution could provide budget hawks with powerful leverage to extract massive spending cuts in exchange for their vote to increase the borrowing cap.  NARFE members' earned benefits, as the Fiscal Commission showed, present an attractive target.  Proactively defending them NOW is crucial.

Time to Meet Congress is NOW:  Being among the very first to meet with new and returning Members of the 112th Congress will distinguish NARFE members from the thousands of groups represented in Washington but lacking active members in every state and district.  Most of the 95 new Members of the House and 16 new Senators have had little exposure to the federal civil service.  Chapter and federation outreach resulting in individual or group meetings should cover income security and health security issues.  NARFE's toll free number for the Capitol switchboard, 1-866-220-0044, can be used to reach any Representative or Senator.  Review the NARFE's talking points of the Fiscal Commission's proposals to cut federal retirement, pay and health benefits and provide a copy to your congressional delegation or their staff.  NARFE members can find the Talking Points by logging on to the NARFE web site, selecting Legislation and looking on the left under LEGISLATIVE Publications.  The specific address for NARFE members is: http://www.narfe.org/departments/legislation/articles.cfm?ID=2068

The Activists are Coming:  Make one of your New Year's Resolutions to register to attend NARFE's 2011 Legislative Training Conference, to be held Saturday, March 5th through Tuesday, March 8th, at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, VA.  We recommend each Federation use 10 percent funds to send promising leaders, especially emerging and potential federation officers.

Registration for 2011 Legislative Conference:  As reported in recent issues of NARFE magazine (January pages 18-19/February page 16-17), any NARFE member can register to attend the 2011 NARFE Legislative Training Conference.  For the first time, members can also register using the NARFE web site, www.narfe.org.  A “CLICK HERE” appears on the home page under the colorful Logo for NARFE 2011 LEGISLATIVE TRAINING CONFERENCE.  Make room reservations by contacting the Hyatt Regency Crystal City directly at 1-888-421-1442.  Specify that the room is part of the NARFE Legislative Training Conference at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City.  Tom Davis, a former Chairman of the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight and a long time NARFE champion has agreed to share his insights.  In addition, key Members of Congress, policy and political experts have been asked to speak and will be announced once they have accepted our invitation.

Free, Quality Policy Info:  The American Enterprise Institute offers free e-subscriptions to important columnists such as Michael Barone and Norman Ornstein and other policy publications.  The URL for AEI's e-subscriptions is:

http://esubscriptions.aei.org/aei_registration/prefs.aspx

Obtaining the Hotline:  Thank you for using the Hotline.  This weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703/838-7780 and toll free at 1-877-217-8234), posted on NARFE's Internet site, www.narfe.org, made available to NARFE-Net Coordinators; and sent to 56,000 GEMS e-mail addresses.  Each delivery channel is a service of NARFE, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.

***

NARFE Legislative Hotline, number 742, released Thursday, December 23rd, 2010.  This edition provides updates on funding for the government and the end of the 111th Congress (2009-2010).  (514 words; 3:04)

Pay Freeze Finalized:  A continuing resolution providing funding for the day-to-day operations of the federal government through March 4, 2011, passed Congress before it recessed for the year.  Efforts to negotiate a package to fund the government through the remainder of Fiscal Year 2011, which ends on September 30, 2011, faced a filibuster in the Senate, resulting in the need for a short-term continuing resolution.  The legislation caps agencies' operating budgets at $1.1 trillion, level with last year's budget.

The bill also includes a 1.4-percent pay raise for military personnel but freezes federal civilian salaries for two years, in line with President Obama's proposal to hold nonmilitary pay steady for 2011 and 2012.  The pay freeze will cancel cost-of-living adjustments to the General Schedule and other federal pay scales for 2011 and 2012.  Workers still would be eligible for promotions and step increases.  NARFE opposes the pay freeze.

Congress Adjourns Sine Die:  On December 22, 2010, both Houses of Congress adjourned for the year, thus ending the 111th Congress (2009-2010).  The new Congress will be sworn-in and begin work on January 5, 2011.  With the end of the 111th Congress, all pending legislation will have to be re-introduced in the new Congress to be brought up for consideration.  Bill numbers will change when legislation is re-introduced.  When contacting Members of Congress about NARFE priority legislation, please do not reference specific bills by name or number until new legislation is introduced for the 112th Congress (2010-2011).   An updated list of NARFE’s accomplishments during the 111th Congress is available in the January 2011 issue of NARFE magazine and online (http://www.narfe.org/pdf/NARFE_Legislative_Accomplishments2009.pdf).

Registration for 2011 Legislative Conference:  As reported in the January 2011 issue of NARFE  (page 18), any NARFE member can register to attend the 2011 NARFE Legislative Training Conference to be held Saturday, March 5, through Tuesday, March 8, in Arlington, VA.  Page 19 is a registration form.  For the first time, members also can register using the NARFE website, www.narfe.org.  A “CLICK HERE” appears on the Members home page under the colorful Logo for NARFE 2011 LEGISLATIVE TRAINING CONFERENCE.  Make room reservations by contacting the Hyatt Regency Crystal City directly at 1-888-421-1442.  Specify that the room is part of the NARFE Legislative Training Conference at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City.

Member-Elect Info on Legislative Action Center:  The Legislative Action Center on the NARFE website provides contact information for the newly elected Members of the 112th Congress (2011-2012).  Use www.capwiz.com/narfe  and select Elections & Candidates.  Selecting a state from the map allows a user to find congressional and state legislative outcomes.

Obtaining the Hotline:  Thank you for using the Hotline.  This weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703-838-7780 and toll free at 1-877-217-8234), posted on NARFE's Internet site, www.narfe.org, made available to NARFE-Net Coordinators; and sent to 56,000 GEMS e-mail addresses.  Each delivery channel is a service of NARFE, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.

This message is generated by the NARFE Global Email Messaging System (GEMS). Please do not reply to this message. If you wish to reply to this message, please compose a new message to the sender. To stop receiving these messages, simply visit our web site at www.narfe.org and remove your e-mail address from your membership record or email us at memberrecords@narfe.org.
***
NARFE Legislative Hotline, number 741, released Friday, December 17th, 2010.  This edition provides the latest consumer price news and updates on the proposed payroll tax holiday and funding for the government.  (782 words; x:xx)

Consumer Price Index Update:  The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) increased during November by 0.06 percent.  Released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov/cpi or 202/691-6994) on December 15, the CPI-W for November is 214.750.  For purposes of calculating the next COLA (cost-of-living adjustment), the index is currently 0.35 percent below the 2008 third quarter average (due to price deflation, in the past measurement year, the 2008 third quarter average is still the point of comparison) base index of 215.5.

Benefits awarded under the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA) to individuals suffering work-related injuries or illnesses, are adjusted according to each calendar year’s percentage change in the CPI-W.  November’s index, 214.750 is 1.4 percent higher than the December index, 211.703.  December consumer price indices will be released Friday, January 14th at 8:30 EDT.

Tax Compromise Awaiting President’s Signature:  By a vote of 277 to 148, the House of Representatives approved an $858 billion tax package that had earlier in the week passed the Senate by a vote of 81 to 19.  President Obama signed the bill on Friday, December 17.  The package includes a two-year extension of the Bush-era tax cuts, long-term unemployment and a one-year 2 percent Social Security payroll tax holiday.  NARFE, with our federal-postal coalition partners, worked to resolve an unintended consequence of the tax holiday which would have required Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) workers to pay a higher contribution to the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund (CSRDF).  Under current law, FERS workers pay 7 percent of their salary minus their Social Security contribution into the CSRDF.  Without the fix, FERS employees would have their Social Security contribution decreased by 2 percent while then facing a 2 percent increase in their CSRDF contribution.  Under the fix, FERS employees will not pay the increased contribution to the CSRDF.

Unfortunately, a proposal made by NARFE and other federal coalition partners that would have allowed Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) employees to see a 2 percent reduction in their retirement contributions was not included.  While CSRS employees do not pay into Social Security, they do pay 7 percent of their salary into the CSRDF, which is equivalent of a private-sector pension combined with Social Security.

Spending Still Unresolved:  A catchall spending measure, or continuing resolution, is still awaiting consideration in the Senate.  An omnibus spending package to fund the day-to-day operations of the federal government through the remainder of Fiscal Year 2011, which ends on September 30, 2011, faced a filibuster in the Senate resulting in the start of negotiations for a continuing resolution.  The House, on December 8th, passed a continuing resolution that would have financed the federal government through the remainder of FY 2011.  The legislation caps agencies' operating budgets at $1.1 trillion, level with last year's budget. The bill also includes a 1.4 percent pay raise for military personnel but freezes federal civilian salaries for two years, in line with President Obama's proposal to hold nonmilitary pay steady for 2011 and 2012. NARFE opposes the pay freeze.  Workers still would be eligible for promotions and step increases.  Current federal funding runs out at midnight on Saturday, December 18.

Registration for 2011 Legislative Conference:  As reported in the January issue of NARFE  (page 18), any NARFE member can register to attend the 2011 NARFE Legislative Training Conference to be held Saturday, March 5th, through Tuesday, March 8th, in Arlington, Virginia.  Page 19 is a registration form.  For the first time, members can also register using the NARFE web site, www.narfe.org.  A “CLICK HERE” appears on the home page under the colorful Logo for NARFE 2011 LEGISLATIVE TRAINING CONFERENCE.  Make room reservations by contacting the Hyatt Regency Crystal City directly at 1-888-421-1442.  Specify that the room is part of the NARFE Legislative Training Conference at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City.

Member-Elect Info on Legislative Action Center:  The Legislative Action Center on the NARFE web site provides contact information for the newly elected Members of the 112th Congress (2011-2012).  Use www.capwiz.com/narfe  and select Elections & Candidates.  Selecting a state from the map allows a user to find congressional and state legislative outcomes.

Obtaining the Hotline:  Thank you for using the Hotline.  This weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703/838-7780 and toll free at 1-877-217-8234), posted on NARFE's Internet site, www.narfe.org, made available to NARFE-Net Coordinators; and sent to 56,000 GEMS e-mail addresses.  Each delivery channel is a service of NARFE, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.

This message is generated by the NARFE Global Email Messaging System (GEMS). Please do not reply to this message. If you wish to reply to this message, please compose a new message to the sender. To stop receiving these messages, simply visit our web site at www.narfe.org and remove your e-mail address from your membership record or email us at memberrecords@narfe.org.
***

NARFE Legislative Hotline, number 740, released Friday, December 10th, 2010.  This edition provides a mix of good and bad news from the lame duck session.  The next and perhaps last scheduled Hotline this year, set for Friday, December 17th, will report on November consumer price news. (975 words; 4:53)

House & Senate Fail to Pass $250 Payment to Seniors:  On December 8th, the House voted NOT to provide Social Security beneficiaries a one-time $250 payment in lieu of a second year without a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).  The bill, H.R. 5987, won a simple majority (254-153) but, under House rules for suspension calendar legislation, needed two thirds.  Also on December 8th, the Senate's attempt to bring similar legislation, S. 3985, to a vote ended when the cloture vote, 53-45 failed to obtain the three fifths majority.  (To see the House vote use

http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2010/roll611.xml to see the Senate cloture vote use:

http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=111&session=2&vote=00267 )

House Omitted, But the Senate Included, Public Service Retirees:  While H.R. 5987 would have offered a one time $250 payment to most older and disabled Americans, the bill would not have provided equivalent relief for more than one million federal, postal, state and local government retirees who are not eligible to receive Social Security benefits.  On the other hand, S. 3985, would have provided a $250 refundable tax credit for public service retirees.

Medicare Provider Reimbursements:  Both the Senate and House have passed so called “Doc Fix” legislation, H.R. 4994, to prevent Medicare provider reimbursement rates from being cut 25%.  The patch runs through 2011.  The $15 billion cost will be offset by making the first change in this year's health care overhaul, reining in a tax credit that makes premiums more affordable for those eligible to participate in state-based exchanges.

Tax and Spending Still Unresolved:  Congress is wrestling with expiring tax code provisions for individuals, corporations and estates. A separate “deal” negotiated by the Obama administration and Republican congressional leaders is very contentious.  Furthermore, the catchall spending measure, introduced and passed by a razor thin margin on December 8th in the House (as an amendment to a Senate version of H.R. 3082), caps agencies' operating budgets at $1.1 trillion for fiscal 2011, level with last year's budget. The bill also includes a 1.4 percent pay raise for military personnel but freezes federal civilian salaries for two years, in line with President Obama's proposal to hold nonmilitary pay steady for 2011 and 2012. NARFE opposes the pay freeze.  Workers still would be eligible for promotions and step increases.  A sine die adjournment may not come until New Year's Eve.  (More information is available at:

http://www.capitolspotlight.org)

Telework Bill Signed into Law:  On December 9, President Obama signed the Telework Enhancement Act (H.R. 1722 introduced by Rep. John Sarbanes).  This new law expands telework in the federal government, requires every federal agency to designate a senior-level employee as Telework Managing Officer to implement telework, and makes telework a central element of federal agencies' “Continuation of Operations” to cope with a natural or manmade emergency.  NARFE and other federal-postal organizations supported this legislation.  (See January 2011 NARFE page 14.)

House and Senate Schedules for 2011:  With the release of House and Senate schedules for 2011, NARFE officers and activists can plan individual and group meetings with Representatives and Senators.  Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), the Republican Whip, has announced the House calendar for 2011.  The first “Constituent Work Week” will be January 31st through February 7th, 2011.  The full House calendar is posted at

http://republicanwhip.house.gov/Calendar/112th1stSessionCalendar.pdf  The first Senate “State Work Period” is tentatively set for January 17th through January 21st, 2011; the second for February 21st through February 25th.  Once final, the Senate schedule will be posted at:

http://www.senate.gov.

Revised Fiscal Commission Talking Points Posted:  The NARFE web site's Talking Points on the Fiscal Commission's proposals to cut federal retirement, pay and health benefits have been updated.  While the commission report failed to garner the necessary votes for immediate action, these proposals could receive serious consideration in the 112th Congress (2011-2012).  The intended audience for these taking points are Members of Congress and their staff.  NARFE officers and activists should provide them to their lawmakers during any upcoming meetings.  NARFE members can access this update by at:

http://www.narfe.org/departments/legislation/articles.cfm?ID=2068

Registration for 2011 Legislative Conference: As reported in the January issue of NARFE  (page 18), any NARFE member can register to attend the 2011 NARFE Legislative Training Conference to be held Saturday, March 5th, through Tuesday, March 8th, in Arlington, Virginia.  Page 19 is a registration form.  For the first time, members can also register using the NARFE web site, www.narfe.org.  A “CLICK HERE” appears on the home page under the colorful Logo for NARFE 2011 LEGISLATIVE TRAINING CONFERENCE.  Make room reservations by contacting the Hyatt Regency Crystal City directly at 1-888-421-1442.  Specify that the room is part of the NARFE Legislative Training Conference at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City.

NARFE Membership Increases:  November was the second month in a row to show an increase in NARFE membership.  Recruitment benefited from our biennial mailing to recent federal retirees amid especially high stakes legislative battles.  The pool of eligibles is large.  The February magazine will include updated annuitant and employee counts by state.

Member-Elect Info on Legislative Action Center:  The Legislative Action Center on the NARFE web site provides contact information for the newly elected Members of the 112th Congress.  Use www.capwiz.com/narfe and select Elections & Candidates.  Selecting a state from the map allows a user to find congressional and state legislative outcomes.

Obtaining the Hotline:  Thank you for using the Hotline.  This weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703/838-7780 and toll free at 1-877-217-8234), posted on NARFE's Internet site, www.narfe.org, made available to NARFE-Net Coordinators; and sent to 56,000 GEMS e-mail addresses.  Each delivery channel is a service of NARFE, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.

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NARFE Legislative Hotline, number 739, released Friday, December 3rd, 2010.  This edition covers the aftermath and likely impact of the Fiscal Commission vote and remaining issues in the lame duck session.  The next scheduled Hotline is set for Friday, December 10th. (525 words; 3:23)

Fiscal Commission Reaches Insufficient Majority:  Eleven of the 18 members of President Obama's Fiscal Commission voted “For” the final report.  The report included proposals to cut federal civilian and military retirement by $70 billion over 10 years, shift an increasing share of health premium costs to federal workers and retirees, freeze federal pay and reduce the federal workforce by 10 percent.  While not the supermajority of 14 votes that would have required Congress to immediately consider the report, many Commissioners promised that their spending cut and revenue provisions will inform the budget debate when it resumes in January, 2011.  That is to say, federal employee and retiree benefits will remain near, if not in, the bulls eye for deficit reduction proposals.

Educate Members of Congress:  For that reason, NARFE members should use the next few weeks before the start of the 112th Congress (2011-2012) on January 5, 2011 to educate lawmakers - particularly incoming freshmen - about the value of federal service and the importance of defending the integrity of our earned retirement, pay and health benefits.  NARFE members can continue to contact their Representative and Senators by email regarding the commission's recommendations through the Legislative Action Center:

http://capwiz.com/narfe/issues/alert/?alertid=19504726

NARFE Members Thanked:  NARFE President Joseph Beaudoin thanks NARFE members who phoned, faxed and e-mailed their Congressional delegations.

Support Modest Federal Employee Pay Raise: As reported earlier, President Obama announced on December 1 that he would support a two-year pay freeze for civilian federal workers.  The proposal is not yet law - it must be passed by Congress.  NARFE and other federal employee organizations are urging Congress to pass the 1.4 percent raise, which is in line with increases in private sector wages.  Use the following link to the NARFE Legislative Action Center to urge your legislators to support this modest pay increase:  http://capwiz.com/narfe/issues/alert/?alertid=20422501

Lame Duck Session Might Consider $250 Payment to Seniors:  Next week (December 6-10), the House of Representatives may consider legislation to offer Social Security beneficiaries a one-time $250 payment in lieu of a second year without a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).  It is unclear whether this legislation would offer equivalent relief to the over one million federal, state and local government retirees who are not eligible to receive Social Security benefits and are also facing higher Medicare Part B premiums.  Offering relief to all older Americans - both retirees of the private or public sectors - is a matter of equity.

Use the following link to the Legislative Action Center to urge your Congressional delegation to ensure that federal annuitants are included in this legislation:

http://capwiz.com/narfe/issues/alert/?alertid=18873501&PROCESS=Take+Action

Obtaining the Hotline:  Thank you for using the Hotline.  This weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703/838-7780 and toll free at 1-877-217-8234), posted on NARFE's Internet site, www.narfe.org, made available to NARFE-Net Coordinators; and sent to 56,000 GEMS e-mail addresses.  Each delivery channel is a service of NARFE, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.

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NARFE Legislative Hotline, number 738, released Wednesday, December 1st, 2010.  This edition urges all NARFE members to act immediately before the Fiscal Commission votes on December 3rd.  The next scheduled Hotline is set for Friday, December 10th. (525 words; 3:21)

Fiscal Commission Co-Chairs' Proposal:  The final report of the Fiscal Commission issued December 1st contains proposals to cut federal civilian and military retirement by 70 billion over 10 years, shift health premium costs to federal retirees, freeze federal pay and reduce the federal workforce by 10 percent.  The final report, including the federal retirement and health benefits cuts, will be voted by the 18 Commission members on Friday, December 3. Several Commission members have announced plans to vote for the report, a few to oppose and others remain undecided.  Because of the unfair cuts to federal retirement and health benefits and employee compensation NARFE President Joseph Beaudoin asks each NARFE member, especially those who acted recently, to contact their own Representative and both Senators.  Due to the urgency we must employee electronic mail and telephone calls.  President Beaudoin urges members to use the Legislative Action Center to deliver an updated message.  The NARFE TOLL FREE number for the Capitol switchboard is listed below with a brief message to be delivered to every Member of Congress.

Legislative Action Center:  The Commission Report, more draconian than the Co-chair's proposal, will receive expedited consideration in the Senate and House during the December “lame duck” session if it gets 14 of the 18 Commission votes.  With such high stakes, NARFE President Joseph Beaudoin implores each NARFE member to immediately send NARFE's just updated message to the current Members of Congress.  The Legislative Action Center allows this to be done easily.  The link to use is: http://capwiz.com/narfe/issues/alert/?alertid=19504726

Organizing Telephone Calls:  Just as important, NARFE officers and leaders should rally the vast majority of NARFE members who are not online to use chapter and federation telephone trees and all other tools to urge members to use NARFE's toll free number, 1-866-220-0044, to reach the Capitol switchboard and ask for your Representative and both Senators by name, or supply your ZIP Code.  Once connected, the message is: “I urge you to oppose the Report of the Fiscal Commission to cut my earned federal civilian retirement and health benefits, freeze federal pay and reduce the federal workforce by 10 percent.”

Pay Freeze for Feds:  On November 30th, President Obama proposed a two-year pay freeze for federal civilian employees throughout the government even in bargained wages.  NARFE expressed opposition in a press release which obtained good national exposure for the organization.  Now, NARFE joins the entire federal coalition to inform Congress of this unfairness.  NARFE's Legislative Action Center allows any user to easily send a prepared message to his or her Representative and both Senators.  (Press Release is posted on the NARFE home page, http://www.narfe.org, and the URL is

http://www.narfe.org/departments/home/articles.cfm?ID=2275 )

Obtaining the Hotline:  Thank you for using the Hotline.  This weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703/838-7780 and toll free at 1-877-217-8234), posted on NARFE's Internet site, www.narfe.org, made available to NARFE-Net Coordinators; and sent to over 56,000 GEMS e-mail addresses.  Each delivery channel is a service of NARFE, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.

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November 29, 2010                                                                      Legislation : 703 838 7760 ext. 201
 

NARFE Disappointed by President’s Decision to Freeze Federal Worker Pay

Joseph A. Beaudoin, president of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE), reacted with disappointment to President Obama’s announcement of a two-year pay freeze for civilian federal workers:
“We understand the purpose of shared sacrifice.  But federal employees and their families once again are being singled out.  This action comes at a time when the federal government can ill afford to put recruitment and retention at risk,” said Beaudoin.  “Indeed, freezing or cutting pay sends the wrong signal to the best and brightest workers federal agencies will need in these difficult times.”
In fact, the Office of Personnel Management reported in October that private-sector workers earn more than 24 percent more than federal employees in 2010, two percentage points higher than in 2009.  What is more, the Society for Human Resource Management estimated in September that salaries in the United States would increase by an average of 2.91 percent in 2011.
Based on responses from more than 1,100 mid-size and large employers across the United States, more than 98 percent of companies plan to award base pay increases in 2011, according to Mercer, a human resources consulting firm. Only 2 percent of companies are planning across-the-board salary freezes next year.
            “In light of the growing number of critical challenges being shouldered by federal workers, the government cannot afford to make substantial reductions to the earned compensation of individuals who have dedicated their careers to public service.  For that reason, we urge the president to reconsider this ill-conceived decision.”

x  x  x
NARFE, one of America’s oldest and largest associations, was founded in 1921 with the mission of protecting the earned rights and benefits of America’s active and retired federal workers. The largest federal employee/ retiree organization, NARFE represents the retirement interests of nearly 5 million current and future federal annuitants, spouses, and survivors.

This message is generated by the NARFE Global Email Messaging System (GEMS). Please do not reply to this message. If you wish to reply to this message, please compose a new message to the sender. To stop receiving these messages, simply visit our web site at www.narfe.org and remove your e-mail address from your membership record or email us at memberrecords@narfe.org.
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             Region X NARFE Members with Email Address

 From:   Bill Martin

             Region X VP

To:       Federation Presidents and Officers
Subject:     Summary of Actions
                  National Executive Board (NEB) Meeting
                  November 16-18, 2010
 
 

Following is a brief summary of actions taken at the recent NEB meeting conducted at NARFE Headquarters in Alexandria VA:

 In my mind, the two most important issues addressed were first, our proposed actions to oppose the Fiscal Commission Co-Chairs’ proposals to cut federal worker and retiree compensation and the establishment of the NARFE IT Advisory Committee.

First, the plan to oppose the commission proposals is included in Legislative Hotline #737.  I will ask everyone to review that document, and as an individual or as a group, do what you can to make your congressional representatives know of your opposition.

One immediate, aggressive action taken on this issue were the “robo” calls from our President Joe Beaudoin.  These calls were made to the over 170,000 members who do not have email listed with NARFE, giving them a brief statement on the problem followed by a request to contact their representative.  A phone number for them to use was included.  Here is the message:

 “This is NARFE President Joe Beaudoin asking you to immediately call your Representative and Senators toll free at 1-866-220-0044 to oppose a serious effort to cut our retirement and health benefits.  Once connected, the message is:  I urge you to oppose the Fiscal Commission’s plan to cut my earned federal civil service retirement and health benefits.  That number is 1-866-220-0044.  Please call today.”

 If you haven’t yet made that call yourself, please do so today - our earned benefits are in jeopardy.  If congress does not hear from us, they may feel we agree with the proposed actions.

 The second “most important” item (in my mind) was establishing a NARFE Advisory Committee (NIAC).   This committee is to identify the latest trends in information technology and its applicability to NARFE.  This review and recommendations will of course include such items as membership reports (M-112, M-114, M-260, etc.), updating of membership records, enrolling new members, etc.  This committee will be comprised of five field members and headed by Vice President Paul Carew.  If you work with any of these reports, you will understand the need to update the system.

There were several “membership dues” items discussed.  New member first year dues remains $45 with $15 going to the chapter.  It is my understanding that this procedure follows what has been done in the past when most recently, first year dues were $33.  The $8 incentive fee to recruiters of AFEs was continued

 Approval was granted to explore establishment of the E-Chapter concept by VP Paul Carew and a Membership Growth Committee headed by Secretary Hughes was also approved.  There has been much interest shown for Internet Chapters.

Please feel free to let me know of any questions or concerns – narfe2065@hughes.net or 540-872-3345.

This message is generated by the NARFE Global Email Messaging System (GEMS). Please do not reply to this message. If you wish to reply to this message, please compose a new message to the sender. To stop receiving these messages, simply visit our web site at www.narfe.org and remove your e-mail address from your membership record or email us at memberrecords@narfe.org.

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NARFE Legislative Hotline, number 737, released Friday, November 19th, 2010.  This edition covers the ongoing ACTION to oppose the Fiscal Commission Co-Chairs' proposals to cut federal worker and retiree compensation, includes reports on two Medicare developments in the Senate and passage of Telework legislation in the House.  The next scheduled Hotline is set for Friday, December 3rd. (843 words; 4:50)

Fiscal Commission Co-Chairs' Proposal:  Alarmed by the November 10th proposal of the Fiscal Commission's Co-Chairs to cut federal retirement and health benefits, NARFE launched a second front this week using automated telephone calls from President Joseph Beaudoin to nearly 170,000 NARFE members for whom we do not have an e-mail address, but do have a phone number.

Organizing Telephone Calls: Just as important, NARFE officers and leaders should rally the vast majority of NARFE members not yet part of the GEMS system to use chapter and federation telephone trees and other tools to urge members to use NARFE's toll free number, 1-866-220-0044, to reach the Capitol switchboard and ask for their Representative/Senators by name, or supply their ZIP Code.  Once connected, the message is: “I urge you to oppose the proposal of the Fiscal Commission Co-chairs to cut my earned federal civilian retirement and health benefits, freeze federal pay and reduce the federal workforce by 10 percent.”

Action Alert Email:  To date, over five thousand NARFE activists have sent email -- via the NARFE's Legislative Action -- to their legislators about the proposed benefit cuts.  President Beaudoin asks each NARFE member to immediately send NARFE's message to the current Members of Congress.  The Legislative Action Center allows this to be done easily.  The link to use is: http://capwiz.com/narfe/issues/alert/?alertid=19504726

Non-NARFE Members Encouraged to Participate:  To expand the number of contacts being made to lawmakers - and generate interest in NARFE -- we are encouraging federal workers and annuitants who are not yet NARFE members to participate in the action alert against the proposed cuts by using the following link: http://capwiz.com/narfe/issues/alert/?alertid=19706516  .  We recommend that you share this specific link with your friends and family and post it to social networking websites, like www.facebook.com.

Kerry Introduces Promised Legislation:On November 17, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) introduced Medicare Premium Fairness legislation, S. 3950.  Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Robert Casey (D-PA) and Christopher Dodd (D-CT) have cosponsored the bill.  S. 3950 would protect all Medicare beneficiaries -- including federal civil service annuitants who are not eligible to receive Social Security -- from an increase in their Part B premium in 2011, when they will not receive any cost-of-living adjustment.  NARFE rallied the support of 20 organizations, representing more than 31 million federal, state and local government workers and retirees, to endorse S. 3950.

Telework Enhanced Cleared for President: On November 18, by a vote of 254-152 the House passed the Telework Enhancement Act, H.R. 1722, as amended earlier by the Senate.  This clears the bill for the President's expected signature.  Once signed into law, Telework Enhancement grants eligible Federal employees the option to telework and requires Federal agencies to establish telework policies and designate a Telework Managing Officer.  NARFE and the Federal-Postal Coalition supported H.R. 1722.  (The House vote is posted at http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2010/roll578.xml and more information at

http://www.teleworkexchange.com/pdfs/Telework-Enhancement-Act-of-2010-Press-Release.pdf)

Medicare Providers Face 21 Percent Reimbursement Cut:  On November 18, the Senate passed legislation to delay by one month the 21 percent reimbursement rate cut schedule for December 1.  The House is expected to approve the legislation after Thanksgiving.

Consumer Prices in the News:  The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) increased 0.1 percent in October 2010 according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (www.bls.gov/cpi or 202/691-6994).  Released on November 17th, the CPI-W for October is 214.623.  For purposes of calculating the next COLA (cost-of-living adjustment) the index is currently 0.4 percent below the 2008 third quarter average (due to price deflation the 2008 third quarter average is still the point of comparison) base index of 215.5.  November consumer prices indices will be released on Wednesday, December 15, 2010.

Benefits awarded under the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA) to individuals who left the workforce due to work-related injuries or illnesses are adjusted according to each calendar year's percentage change in the CPI-W and payable in the following year's month of April. October's index (214.623) is 1.4 percent higher than the December 2009 base of 211.703.  The final data point, December, will be reported Friday, January 14, 2011.

Staying Current Using CQ Products:  Congressional Quarterly now has modified its free daily e-mail covering Washington.  To replace CQpolitics.com CQ launched CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing: This e-mail brings you the latest news from around Washington, delivered every day at noon. To subscribe use the following address:

http://corporate.cqrollcall.com/wmspage.cfm?parm1=237

Obtaining the Hotline:  Thank you for using the Hotline.  This weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703/838-7780 and toll free at 1-877-217-8234), posted on NARFE's Internet site, www.narfe.org, made available to NARFE-Net Coordinators; and sent to over 55,000 GEMS e-mail addresses.  Each delivery channel is a service of NARFE, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.

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This promised NARFE Legislative Hotline, number 736, released Friday, November 12th, 2010 provides tools for each NARFE member to respond immediately to the just released draft proposal of the two co-chairs of the President's Fiscal Commission.  (484 words; 3:26)
 
 

Draconian Proposals of Commission Co-chair:  On Wednesday, November 10th, the Co-chairs (Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson) of President Obama's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform released a 50 page, highly preliminary proposal that would reduce federal retiree health benefits and income security AND freeze federal pay for three years and reduce the federal workforce by 10 percent.  Both earlier and more draconian than anyone expected, this proposal of the co-chairs demands NARFE mobilize to tell every Member of Congress to oppose the Bowles-Simpson proposal.

Proposal Demands NARFE Action:  NARFE President Joseph Beaudoin urges each NARFE member to use either the Legislative Action Center or NARFE's toll free telephone number to contact their Representative and both Senators.  NARFE's Legislative Action Center has been updated to allow each member to easily generate a message for their congressional delegation.  President Beaudoin asks you to use the following link http://capwiz.com/narfe/issues/alert/?alertid=19504726&PROCESS=Take+Action to defend our earned retirement benefits.

Organizing Telephone Calls:  Just as important, NARFE officers and leaders should rally the vast majority of NARFE members not part of the GEMS system to employee chapter and federation telephone trees and other tools to urge members to use NARFE's toll free number, 1-866-220-0044, to reach the Capitol switchboard and ask for their Representative/Senators by name, or supply their ZIP Code.  Once connected, the message is: “I urge you to oppose recommendations of the Fiscal Commission Co-chairs to cut my earned federal civilian retirement and health benefits, freeze federal pay and reduce the federal workforce by 10 percent.”

Sen. Kerry Champions Public Sector Retirees:  As previously reported, on November 16, Sen. John Kerry, D-MA, plans to introduce legislation to protect all Medicare beneficiaries -- including federal civil service annuitants who are not eligible to receive Social Security -- from an increase in their Part B premium in 2011, when they will not receive any cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).  NARFE's press release is on the home page.  Use http://www.narfe.org/departments/home/articles.cfm?ID=2263.

House Floor Vote Expected:  During the “lame duck” session beginning November 15, the House is expected to consider an “in lieu COLA payment of $250” to certain groups.  It is still unclear whether the floor effort, to be lead by Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-ND, includes the over one million public sector retirees who are not eligible for Social Security.

Obtaining the Hotline:  Thank you for using the Hotline.  This weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703/838-7780 and toll free at 1-877-217-8234), posted on NARFE's Internet site, www.narfe.org, made available to NARFE-Net Coordinators; and sent to over 55,000 GEMS e-mail addresses.  Each delivery channel is a service of NARFE, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.
 

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This special NARFE Legislative Hotline, number 735, released Wednesday, November 10th, 2010.  This special Hotline covers the just released draft proposal of the two co-chairs of the President's Fiscal Commission.  The next scheduled Hotline is set for Friday, November 19th.  (617 words; 4:34)

Provisions of Bowles/Simpson (Co-Chairs') Proposal:  A 50 page, highly preliminary report released by the bipartisan co-chairs of President Obama's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform on Wednesday, November 10, proposes major tax code changes, dramatic changes to Social Security and spending cuts, including to federal retirement and health benefits.

Coincidentally, today the NARFE “Fiscal Commission Watch” webpage was launched. Presently, for NARFE members, this information can be found from the home page, www.narfe.org, Members' homepage and Legislation homepage.  The specific URL is
http://www.narfe.org/departments/legislation/fiscal.cfm

The proposal comes from the bipartisan co-chairmen, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, and has NOT been approved by the Commission which requires the votes of 14 of the 18 members. A vote on the approval of a final report is required not later than December 1, 2010.  The Commission's web site, www.fiscalcommission.gov includes the proposal under the News header.  (An additional 24 page document is also available.  The URL is http://www.fiscalcommission.gov/sites/fiscalcommission.gov/files/documents/Illustrative_List_11.10.2010.pdf

Simpson and Bowles say their plan would bring spending down to 22 percent and then 21 percent of U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and reduce the deficit from 60 percent of GDP to under 40 percent by 2037.

Impact on Federal Retirement:  Most important to federal employees and retirees, the co-chairs' proposal would "achieve mandatory savings from civil service retirement" by:  1) Calculating federal civil service annuities by using highest five years of salary instead of the highest three years; 2) Requiring Federal Employees Retirement System covered workers to contribute a much higher share of payroll to their defined benefit annuity 3) basing Social Security, federal civilian and military retirement cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) on the "chained consumer price index" which would result in lower payments than under current law and 4) Requiring federal civilian retirees to pay a larger share of Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) premiums.

Impact on Federal Employees:  Furthermore, federal employees would be especially impacted by the recommendation to enact tough discretionary spending caps and provide $200 billion in domestic and defense savings by 2015. This includes a three-year pay freeze and cutting the federal workforce by 10 percent.

Impact on Social Security:  The draft proposal would make the “benefit formula” for Social Security more progressive – meaning benefits would target those who need them the most. As a result, Social Security would reduce payments to upper income recipients.  In addition, the retirement age would be increased based on the average American’s greater longevity, increasing the age to 68 by 2050 and 69 in 2075.

Impact on Medicare:  Address the Medicare "doc fix" not through deficit spending but through savings “by asking doctors and other health providers, lawyers, and individuals to take responsibility for slowing health care cost growth.”  This would be done by paying health care providers less, among other tactics.

Revenue summary:  Pass tax reform that dramatically reduces rates, simplifies the code, broadens the base and reduces the deficit.

MORE to COME:  Given that the Co-Chairs’ report omits specific details about their proposals, some questions about their draft document cannot be answered yet.   More direction will be provided shortly about contacting your Members of Congress.

Obtaining the Hotline:  Thank you for using the Hotline.  This weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703/838-7780 and toll free at 1-877-217-8234), posted on NARFE's Internet site, www.narfe.org, made available to NARFE-Net Coordinators; and sent to over 55,000 GEMS e-mail addresses.  Each delivery channel is a service of NARFE, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.

This message is generated by the NARFE Global Email Messaging System (GEMS). Please do not reply to this message. If you wish to reply to this message, please compose a new message to the sender. To stop receiving these messages, simply visit our web site at www.narfe.org and remove your e-mail address from your membership record or email us at memberrecords@narfe.org.
 

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This NARFE Legislative Hotline, number 734, released Friday, November 5th, 2010.  This edition leads with breaking news on Medicare premiums, provides some election coverage and reminds members to register for NARFE's 2011 Legislative Training Conference.  The next scheduled Hotline, set for Friday, November 19th, will report on October consumer price news and the “lame duck” session of Congress.  (556 words; 3:44)

Senator to Introduce Medicare Fairness Legislation:  NARFE President Joseph A. Beaudoin praised Sen. John Kerry, D-MA, for his decision to introduce the “Medicare Premium Fairness Act” when the Senate convenes for the lame-duck session in mid-November. The bill would protect all Medicare beneficiaries -- including federal civil service annuitants who are not eligible to receive Social Security -- from an increase in their Part B premium in 2011, when they will not receive any cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).  Specific NARFE Legislative Action will be released on Monday, November 8th.  More information is available in a press release on the NARFE home page, www.narfe.org.  (The specific web address is

 http://www.narfe.org/departments/home/articles.cfm?ID=2263)

Election Summary, Early Edition:  Republicans won control of the House of Representatives with a net gain over 60 seats, the largest net change since 1946.  Perhaps a dozen seats are undecided or in dispute.  In the Senate, the Republicans scored a net gain of 6 seats by winning currently Democratic held seats in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.  The Green Papers' web site is a gateway to election results, campaign finance totals and district maps.

(Use http://www.thegreenpapers.com/G10/ and select a state.

A 13 page compilation of the 37 Senate races is found using

http://www.thegreenpapers.com/G10/SenateVoteByParty.phtml)

Registration for 2011 Legislative Conference:  As reported in the November issue of NARFE magazine (pp 16-17), any NARFE member can register to attend the 2011 NARFE Legislative Training Conference to be held Saturday, March 5th, through Tuesday, March 8th, in Arlington, Virginia.  Page 17 is a registration form.  For the first time, members can also register using the NARFE web site, www.narfe.org.  A “CLICK HERE” appears on the home page under the colorful Logo for NARFE 2011 LEGISLATIVE TRAINING CONFERENCE.  Make room reservations by contacting the Hyatt Regency Crystal City directly at 1-888-421-1442.  Specify that the room is part of the NARFE Legislative Training Conference at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City.

Federal Benefit Open Season:  Monday, November 8th, through Friday, December 10th, is “Open Season” for federal health, dental and vision benefits.  NARFE coverage, begun in the October issue, provides cost information in the November issue and plan changes in the December issue.  These three issues would help any congressional caseworker in your Representatives' or Senators' office.

Clarification of November FEHBP Coverage:  The story "Health Reform Law Means Changes in FEHBP" on p. 42 in the November issue has been confusing for some members. The requirement to enroll in family coverage mentioned in the fifth paragraph applies ONLY to those individuals now enrolled in a self-only option who want, under the new law, to cover their eligible children until age 26.

Obtaining the Hotline:  Thank you for using the Hotline.  This weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703/838-7780 and toll free at 1-877-217-8234), posted on NARFE's Internet site, www.narfe.org, made available to NARFE-Net Coordinators; and sent to over 55,000 GEMS e-mail addresses.  Each delivery channel is a service of NARFE, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.

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This NARFE Legislative Hotline, number 733, released Friday, October 22nd, 2010.  NARFE's President urges each member to contact Congress for fairness in any “in lieu COLA” payment.  The next scheduled Hotline, set for Friday, November 5th, will report on the elections.  (376 words; 2:35)

President Pitches Plea:  President Margaret L. Baptiste, NARFE's national president, urges each NARFE member to contact his or her Congressional delegation to urge them to include retirees from the public sector in any “in lieu COLA” payment likely to be considered during the mid November lame duck session.

Lame Duck Legislation Might Omit Public Sector Retirees:  The House leadership is eager to consider legislation after the November 2nd election to provide a $250 payment to Social Security beneficiaries. However, it is unclear whether the over one million federal, state and local government retirees not eligible to receive Social Security benefits and facing higher Medicare premiums would be eligible.  Remember, during the consideration of the 2009 Stimulus bill, over a million retired public employees were initially excluded from a $250 payment to Social Security recipients, but later - through NARFE's efforts - a $250 refundable tax credit for public service retirees was included in the legislation which became law.

e-Lobbyist using Legislative Action Center:  To date only 1468 NARFE members have taken action based on last week's Hotline.  Now is the moment to use the NARFE Legislative Action Center to easily send your Representative and both Senators a prepared letter.  The specific link is

http://capwiz.com/narfe/issues/alert/?alertid=18873501 .  NARFE 's toll free number for the Capitol Switchboard makes it easy to call your Representative and two Senators. The NARFE toll-free number for the Capitol Switchboard, 1-866-220-0044, allows callers to ask for any Representative or Senator by name.  When doing so, tell your Congressional delegation the following:  “I urge you to include federal, state and local government retirees who are not eligible for Social Security in the $250 payment to seniors.”

Obtaining the Hotline:  Thank you for using the Hotline.  This weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703/838-7780 and toll free at 1-877-217-8234), posted on NARFE's Internet site, www.narfe.org, made available to NARFE-Net Coordinators; and sent to over 54,000 GEMS e-mail addresses.  Each delivery channel is a service of NARFE, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.
 

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This NARFE Legislative Hotline, number 732 was released Friday, October 15th, 2010.  Consumer price news is the lead, followed by a NARFE Action Alert on legislation to provide a $250 payment to older Americans.  The next Hotline, scheduled for Friday, November 5th, will report on the elections.  (690 words; 4:57)

 Second Consecutive Year Without a COLA:  On October 15th, the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) confirmed what has been reported on this Hotline - there will be NO Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) in the three federally administered retirement programs – Social Security, military retirement and federal civil service.  This is the second consecutive year without measured inflation.  Specifically BLS (www.bls.gov/cpi and 202/691-6994) reported the consumer price index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, the CPI-W, for September is 214.306, a one month increase of 0.05 percent from the August index of 214.205.

However, the July (213.898)/August (214.205)/September (214.306) average index (214.133) is 0.6 percent LOWER than the third quarter average base index in 2008 (215.5).  October consumer price indices will be released Wednesday, November 17th.  (The BLS web site provides “Common Misconceptions About the Consumer Price Index: Questions and Answers” http://www.bls.gov/cpi/cpiqa.htm)

Former federal employees now receiving monthly benefits under provisions of the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA), due to on the job injuries or illnesses, receive a COLA based on the change in the CPI-W during each calendar year.  Due to price deflation during calendar year 2008, there was NO FECA COLA in 2009.  The September index, (214.306), is 1.2 percent higher than the December 2009 index of 211.7.

$250 Payment for Older Americans:  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, announced October 14 that when Congress reconvenes for its Lame Duck session after the Election, the House of Representatives will consider legislation that would provide a $250 payment to Social Security recipients, veterans and individuals with disabilities (recipients of disability insurance under Social Security).  The payment was proposed in anticipation of the official news delivered today from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that there will be no COLA in 2011 as a result of economic conditions.

It is clear that Social Security beneficiaries would receive the $250 payment under the House Leadership proposal.  But what is ambiguous is whether relief would be offered to over one million federal, state and local government retirees who are not eligible to receive Social Security benefits.    By way of precedent, during the consideration of the 2009 Stimulus bill, retired public employees were initially excluded from a $250 payment to Social Security recipients, but later – through NARFE’s efforts – a $250 refundable tax credit for public service retirees was included in the legislation which became law.

NARFE fears that federal, state and local government retirees may not receive equivalent relief under the House legislation.  For that reason, NARFE President Margaret Baptiste has issued an Action Alert for all NARFE members – even individuals who are Social Security-eligible – to urge their lawmakers to provide retired public service employees relief equivalent to the $250 payment which Social Security beneficiaries would receive.

Take action through the Action Alert on the NARFE Legislative Action Center:  (http://capwiz.com/narfe/issues/alert/?alertid=18873501&PROCESS=Take+Action).  Or you can call your Representative and two Senators. The NARFE toll-free number for the Capitol Switchboard, 1-866-220-0044, allows callers to ask for any Representative or Senator by name.  When doing so, tell your Congressional delegation the following:  “I urge you to include federal, state and local government retirees who are not eligible for Social Security in any legislation offering a $250 payment to seniors.”

Lame Duck Schedule for House:  Majority Leader Hoyer announced that votes will begin on November 15 and will be held the entire week with a break for Thanksgiving week and resume the week of November 29.  The Senate is expected to return the week of November 15 as well.

 Obtaining the Hotline:  Thank you for using the Hotline.  This weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703/838-7780 and toll free at 1-877-217-8234), posted on NARFE's Internet site, www.narfe.org, made available to NARFE-Net Coordinators; and sent to over 54,000 GEMS e-mail addresses.  Each delivery channel is a service of NARFE, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.

This message is generated by the NARFE Global Email Messaging System (GEMS). Please do not reply to this message. If you wish to reply to this message, please compose a new message to the sender. To stop receiving these messages, simply visit our web site at www.narfe.org and remove your e-mail address from your membership record or email us at memberrecords@narfe.org.

***
This NARFE Legislative Hotline, number 731 was released Friday, October 15th, 2010.  Consumer price news is the lead.  The next Hotline, scheduled for Friday, November 5th, will report on the elections.  (599 words; 3:40)

Second Consecutive Year Without a COLA:  On October 15th, the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) confirmed what has been reported on this Hotline there will be NO Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) in the three federally administered retirement programs - Social Security, military retirement and federal civil service.  This is the second consecutive year without measured inflation.  Specifically BLS (www.bls.gov/cpi and 202/691-6994) reported the consumer price index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, the CPI-W, for September is 214.???, a one month decrease/increase of 0.? percent from the August index of 214.205.

However, the July (213.898)/August (214.205)/September (214.???) average index (21?.???) is 0.? percent LOWER than the third quarter average base index in 2008 (215.5).  October consumer price indices will be released Wednesday, November 17th.  (The BLS web site provides “Common Misconceptions About the Consumer Price Index: Questions and Answers” http://www.bls.gov/cpi/cpiqa.htm)

Former federal employees now receiving monthly benefits under provisions of the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA), due to on the job injuries or illnesses, receive a COLA based on the change in the CPI-W during each calendar year.  Due to price deflation during calendar year 2008, there was NO FECA COLA in 2009.  The September index, (214.???), is 1.? percent higher that the December 2009 index of 211.7.

Lame Duck Schedule for House:  Majority Leader Hoyer announced that votes will begin on November 15 and will be held the entire week with a break for Thanksgiving week and resuming the week of November 29.  The Senate is expected to return the week of November 15 as well.

Open Season Dates and Information:  Unlike prior years, during the upcoming “Open Season,” November 8, 2010 through December 13, 2010, OPM will use e-mail and limited postal mailings to annuitants to provide information about costs and benefits in FEHBP and about the Dental and Vision plans.  Availability of dental and vision plans, along with their premiums and benefits will vary, are not dependent upon enrollment in the FEHBP, and unlike the health insurance plans, enrollees will pay the full cost of any elected option.

Election Recess Allows “Meet Your Candidates Month” To Continue:  Incumbents seeking re-election are eager to be away from Washington, meeting their constituents and thus available to meet organized NARFE groups.  Therefore, executing multi-chapter, multi-candidate forums should continue through Election Day, November 2nd.  Federation, District and Chapter leaders foiled in earlier attempts to organize forums have another opportunity to schedule Meet Your Candidates events.  Individual NARFE members including districts who have already conducted “Candidate forums or Meetings,” should attend any and every campaign event open to the public.

Forum Materials Still Available:  Copies of the planning memo and support documents including NARFE's “Candidate Questionnaire” and “Fiscal Commission Talking Points” are posted for NARFE members on our web site. On the Legislation home page, use the colorful Meet Your Candidates Month “CLICK HERE” for all supporting materials.

Report Meetings with Your Lawmakers:  NARFE member feedback from any meetings or forums with any Member of Congress during “Meet Your Candidates Month” provides exclusive and critical intelligence.  Meeting summaries can be posted online through the Legislative Department section of the NARFE website www.narfe.org by clicking the http://www.capwiz.com/narfe/lrm/feedback.tt link and follow the prompts.  Photographs and event summaries can also be e-mailed to leg@narfe.org or sent via postal mail to 606 N Washington St, Alexandria VA 22314-1914.

Obtaining the Hotline:  Thank you for using the Hotline.  This weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703/838-7780 and toll free at 1-877-217-8234), posted on NARFE's Internet site, www.narfe.org, made available to NARFE-Net Coordinators; and sent to over 54,000 GEMS e-mail addresses.  Each delivery channel is a service of NARFE, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.

***
This NARFE Legislative Hotline, number 730 was released Friday, October 1st 2010.  2011 FEHBP Premiums is the lead.  The next Hotline, set for Friday, October 15th, will report on September consumer price news.  (695 words; 4:40)

FEHBP Premium Increase Burden for Federal Workers and Annuitants:  On October 1st, the Office of Personnel Management (www.OPM.gov) announced 2011 FEHBP Premiums will increase an average of 7.3 percent just less than the 8.8 percent average increase in 2010.  NARFE President Margaret L. Baptiste expressed concern that federal annuitants and workers will be burdened by the large premium increases.  “The overall average Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) premium increase of 7.3 percent for 2011 will be difficult for federal annuitants to shoulder in a year when no cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) is expected and when the federal employee pay raise is anticipated to be minimal or non existent.” Baptiste said NARFE is also troubled that the share paid by employees and retirees in the program's most popular plan (Blue Cross/Blue Shield Standard option) will rise by 6.9 percent for self only and 7.6 percent for family plans.  (NARFE's Press Release, posted on www.narfe.org, provides further information.)

Premiums Posted on OPM Web Site:  2011 premiums for employees and retirees are available as Adobe ® files on the OPM web site, www.opm.gov.  Files in a portable document format (pdf) are available at http://www.opm.gov/insure/health/rates/index.asp  Both the November and December issues of NARFE magazine will provide the additional coverage for Federal Benefits Open Season begun in the October issue, pages 48-56.

Open Season Dates and Information:  Unlike prior years, during the upcoming “Open Season,” November 8, 2010 through December 13, 2010, OPM will use e-mail and limited postal mailings to annuitants to provide information about costs and benefits in FEHBP and about the Dental and Vision plans.  Availability of dental and vision plans, along with their premiums and benefits will vary, are not dependent upon enrollment in the FEHBP, and unlike the health insurance plans, enrollees will pay the full cost of any elected option.

Congress Leaves Washington to Campaign:  Eager to depart Capitol Hill and get back on the campaign trail, Congress passed and the President signed a Continuing Resolution to provide funding for all government operations through December 3rd.  Late in the evening of September 29th, the Senate approved stop-gap legislation 69-30 (Record Vote Number:247)  Very early in the morning of September 30th, the House voted 228-194 (Roll no. 564) to approve the Senate amendments.  Later, on the last day of the fiscal year, President Obama signed the measure into law.

Election Recess Allows “Meet Your Candidates Month” To Continue:  Incumbents seeking re-election are eager to be away from Washington, meeting their constituents and thus available to meet organized NARFE groups.  Therefore, executing multi-chapter, multi-candidate forums should continue through Election Day, November 2nd.  Federation, District and Chapter leaders foiled in earlier attempts to organize forums have another opportunity to schedule Meet Your Candidates events.  Individual NARFE members including districts who have already conducted “Candidate forums or Meetings,” should attend any and every campaign event open to the public.

Forum Materials Still Available:  Copies of the planning memo and support documents including NARFE's “Candidate Questionnaire” and “Fiscal Commission Talking Points” are posted for NARFE members on our web site. On the Legislation home page, use the colorful Meet Your Candidates Month “CLICK HERE” for all supporting materials.

Report Meetings with Your Lawmakers:  NARFE member feedback from any meetings or forums with any Member of Congress during “Meet Your Candidates Month” provides exclusive and critical intelligence.  Meeting summaries can be posted online through the Legislative Department section of the NARFE website www.narfe.org by clicking the http://www.capwiz.com/narfe/lrm/feedback.tt link and follow the prompts.  Photographs and event summaries can also be e-mailed to leg@narfe.org or sent via postal mail to 606 N Washington St, Alexandria VA 22314-1914.
 

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Obtaining the Hotline:  Thank you for using the Hotline.  This weekly legislative message is available to telephone callers (703/838-7780 and toll free at 1-877-217-8234), posted on NARFE's Internet site, www.narfe.org, made available to NARFE-Net Coordinators; and sent to over 54,000 GEMS e-mail addresses.  Each delivery channel is a service of NARFE, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.













 


 

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