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NEWS:

NARFE Legislative Hotline – April 11, 2014

Message from NARFE President Joseph A. Beaudoin

“Just ahead of the two-week Easter/Passover Recess, the House passed a concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year (FY) 2015. Similar to last year, the House rejected five substitutes before approving, mostly along party lines, House Concurrent Resolution 96. I urge you to read this entire Hotline and review the votes of your own Representative.”

Budget Resolution Wins House Majority

On April 10, the House approved the fiscal year 2015 budget resolution (H.Con.Res. 96) introduced by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul D. Ryan, R-WI, by a vote of 219-205. Twelve Republicans joined all Democrats in opposition. Passage came after the House had debated, and defeated, five alternative budget blueprints. One of these, offered by the Republican Study Committee, included a switch to the Chained CPI for the purpose of determining annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs). The Ryan budget assumes savings of $125 billion over 10 years by requiring existing federal employees to contribute substantially more toward their retirement. Since funding levels for FY 2015 were set with passage of a two-year budget agreement earlier this year, the Ryan budget is more statement than policy and will not be considered further.

Draw Attention to “Public Service Recognition Week” May 4-10

Since 1985, the first week in May has been designated Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW). It is a time to honor federal, state, county and municipal employees who make our government the best in the world. NARFE’s Legislative Action Center has been updated to include a Letter to the Editor (LTE) template for members to complete and send to the newspapers in their local areas. The “Media Guide” on the Legislative Action Center makes this easy, and adding your own content will make the LTE even more likely to be published.

Protect America’s Heartbeat

Revamped Toolkits Now Available! The updated Protect America’s Heartbeat Toolkits are available! The new resources and guides are available online at http://www.narfe.org/heartbeat/resources.cfm. The redesign allows for easier updating and online access for NARFE members. The Toolkit has been divided into six smaller Toolkits. NARFE leaders should take advantage of the new materials as they prepare to visit members of Congress during the Easter/Passover recess, April 13 through 27.

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NARFE Legislative Hotline – April 4, 2014 Message from NARFE President Joseph A. Beaudoin

“House Budget Committee Chairman Paul D. Ryan, R-WI, introduced and won committee approval of his fiscal year (FY) 2015 budget resolution. This budget is a far cry from any notion of shared sacrifice. It ignores the fact that federal employees already have contributed more than $120 billion toward deficit reduction and would squeeze another $125 billion from increased retirement contributions.”

House Budget Resolution Clears Committee

The House budget resolution authored by Rep. Paul D. Ryan was approved by the full Budget Committee on a party-line vote. The Ryan budget is scheduled for House floor consideration during the week of April 7. NARFE’s press release, in which NARFE President Beaudoin likened the budget to an April Fool’s joke, earned media coverage. It is unclear at this time whether Chairman Ryan has the votes to pass his budget through the House. Even if the resolution should pass the House, it will be the last action taken, as funding levels for FY15 were already set in the budget deal earlier this year. It should be a top priority for NARFE members to watch how their representatives vote on the budget.

Legislative Action Center Invites Activists

NARFE support for three recently introduced bills is best demonstrated when members use our Legislative Action Center to share their support with their own representative. Below are links to the three newest letters in our Action Center.
  1. Support a bill by Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-VA, to provide federal employees with a 3.3 percent pay raise, H.R. 4306;
  2. Support a bill by Rep. Mike Honda, D-CA, to use the CPI-E to calculate annual COLAs, H.R. 4202;
  3. Support a bill by Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-WA, to provide back pay to federal employees furloughed as a result of sequestration, H.R. 3744.

Draw Attention to “Public Service Recognition Week,”

May 4-10 Since 1985, the first week in May has been designated Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW). It is a time to honor federal, state, county and municipal employees who make our government the best in the world. NARFE’s Legislative Action Center has been updated to include a Letter to the Editor (LTE) template for members to complete and send to the newspapers in your local area. The “Media Guide” on the Legislative Action Center makes this easy, and adding your own content will make the LTE even more likely to be published.

Protect America’s Heartbeat Revamped Toolkits Now Available!

The updated Protect America’s Heartbeat Toolkits are available! The new resources and guides are available online at http://www.narfe.org/heartbeat/resources.cfm. The redesign allows for easier updating and online access for NARFE members. The larger Toolkit has been divided into six smaller Toolkits. NARFE leaders should take advantage of the new materials as they prepare to visit senators during the Easter/Passover recess, April 13 through 26.

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NARFE Legislative Hotline – March 28, 2014

Message from NARFE President Joseph A. Beaudoin

“After a three-year pay freeze, federal employees received a 1 percent pay raise in 2014. On Wednesday, Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-VA, along with nine original cosponsors, introduced legislation calling for a 3.3 percent pay raise in 2015. NARFE praised Connolly and the cosponsors from around the country for showing leadership on the issue of federal pay.”

Playing Catch-Up on Federal Pay

H.R. 4306, the Federal Adjustment of Income Rates Act of 2014, or FAIR Act, provides a 3.3 percent pay increase for federal employees to close the growing gap between public- and private-sector pay – now at 35 percent, according to the Federal Salary Council, based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data. In his endorsement letter, NARFE President Beaudoin stressed the long-range importance of the Connolly legislation. “Without competitive pay, we will fail to recruit and retain the best and brightest into public service,” Beaudoin said.

To ask your representative to cosponsor this legislation, or to thank them for doing so, click here.

Protect America’s Heartbeat Revamped Toolkits Now Available!

As detailed in the April issue of narfe magazine, the Legislative Department has released updated Protect America’s Heartbeat Toolkits. The new resources and guides are available online at http://www.narfe.org/heartbeat/resources.cfm. The redesign allows for easier updating and online access for NARFE members. The larger toolkit has been divided into six smaller toolkits so that NARFE members and leaders can easily find the information for which they are looking. NARFE leaders should take advantage of the new materials as they prepare to visit senators during the April recess.

Draw Attention to “Public Service Recognition Week,” May 4-8

Since 1985, the first week in May has been designated Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW). It is a time to honor federal, state, county and municipal employees who make our government the best in the world. PSRW is organized annually by the Public Employees Roundtable (PER) and its member organizations, including NARFE.

NARFE’s Legislative Action Center includes a Letter to the Editor (LTE) template for members to complete and send to the newspapers in their local area. The “Media” module on the Legislative Action Center makes this easy, and adding your own content will make the LTE even more likely to be published. Letters should be kept to fewer than 200 words.

New Action Letters Available in Legislative Action Center

In addition to urging your representatives to support an adequate pay raise in 2015, two other pieces of legislation have garnered NARFE’s support. The first, H.R. 3744, introduced by Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-WA, would provide back pay to federal employees who were furloughed as a result of sequestration. Over three-quarters of a million federal employees lost $1.4 billion in wages last year from the sequester-related furloughs. Click here to view and send the letter to your representative.

Also on NARFE’s agenda is legislation to use the CPI-E (Consumer Price Index for the Elderly) to calculate annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for federal annuities, and there is now a bill pending to do just that. Rep. Mike Honda, D-CA, introduced the CPI-E Act (H.R. 4202), which would result in COLAs better aligned with how seniors spend their income. Click here to ask your representative to cosponsor this bill.

Two Weeks in Washington, Two Weeks of Recess

During the first two weeks of April, members of Congress will be on Capitol Hill. Then both chambers will be in recess for the two weeks spanning Easter and Passover, April 13 - 26. Now is a great time to request a meeting while members are home during those two weeks. Most offices use webforms for requesting a meeting or invitation to the federation convention. These webforms are found from the member’s home page by clicking on the “Contact Me” tab. NARFE’s legislative staff (leg@narfe.org  or 703-838-7760) is happy to provide assistance, talking points and any other information to make your meeting a success. Face-to-face meetings are a huge NARFE advantage only if employed.

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