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Federal Employees News Digest : Jan. 14, 2013
jobs were slated to move to Parkersburg, W.Va., this coming November. The proposal to move the FMS jobs out of Hyattsville, Md., is the result of the department's planned consolidation of FMS with the Bureau of the Public Debt into a new Fiscal Service. The administration's fiscal 2013 budget calls for the consolidation to "streamline and modernize operations." The National Treasury Employees Union, which represents the FMS employees, said the Treasury Department, NTEU, and the state's del- egation in Congress had been working together to address the relocation issue. NTEU credited a group of Maryland Democrats---including Sens. Barbara Mikulski and Benjamin Cardin, and Reps. Steny Hoyer, Donna Edwards, Chris Van Hollen, Elijah Cummings and John Sarbanes---for their leadership in the effort. "I applaud the efforts of the Maryland congressional delegation in encourag- ing FMS to review and amend its plans concerning relocation," NTEU President Colleen Kelley said in a statement. "I believe this adjustment in the FMS- Bureau of the Public Debt consolidation plan is a good step for those dedicated employees who want to continue to serve in the D.C. metro area." Van Hollen also applauded the decision. "This additional time will ensure that the transition process moves deliberately and transparently and that the employees who have dedicated years of service to FMS can make the best choice for them- selves and their families," Van Hollen said in a statement. In a letter to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner in November, Mikulski and Cardin claimed that only 10 percent to 15 percent of the FMS employees would be able to move with their jobs. "NTEU will continue to be deeply engaged in this process to ensure that the employees it represents at the Financial Management Service have their concerns addressed," Kelley said. To see more, go to: http://www.nteu. org/PressKits/PressRelease/PressRelease. aspx?ID=1851 or http://vanhol- len.house.gov/news/documentsingle. aspx?DocumentID=316323. ••• In Brief G Fund immune from debt ceiling concerns The head of the Thrift Savings Plan, as he did during last year's debt limit stand- off in Congress, assured plan partici- pants that any suspension in the issuance of securities into the G Fund will have no effect on their accounts. In a posting on the plan's website, TSP Executive Director Greg Long reminded participants that even if the federal gov- ernment reaches its statutory debt limit and the U.S. Treasury is unable to issue securities to the Government Securities Investment Fund, or G Fund, investors in the fund remain fully protected from any effects. That's because statutory protection provided by in the Thrift Savings Plan Investment Act of 1987 requires the gov- ernment to fully guarantee G Fund earn- ings. Even if the government were unable to issue new securities to the fund, a "make whole" provision in the act requires the government to restore any uninvested principal and interest losses when the Treasury resumes issuing securities. "G Fund account balances will con- tinue to accrue earnings and be updated each business day, and loans and with- drawals will be unaffected," Long stated in the posting. Long noted that the Government Accountability Office detailed the pro- tections in a report last year. To see more, go to: https://www.tsp. gov/whatsnew/messages/directorMessage. shtml (TSP) or www.gao.gov/products/ GAO-12-701 (GAO). Pay freeze bill expires The clock ran out this month on a last-minute House measure to extend the federal civilian pay freeze through 2013. The latest bill to propose the exten- sion, the Congressional Pay Freeze Act (H.R. 6726), was sponsored by Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) The House passed the measure Jan. 1 by a vote of 287-129, but the Senate closed out the 112th Congress without addressing the bill. That means proponents of the exten- sion will have to reintroduce the bill in the new Congress. Transit portion of commuter benefit rises Federal employees who use public transit this year will able to pay for more of it with pre-tax income. The change comes thanks to a pro- vision in the "fiscal cliff " tax agree- ment passed this month that restores the monthly benefit for the transit portion of the commuter benefit to $240 per month. The move brings the level of the transit part of the commuter ben- efit back into parity with the $240 per month parking benefit through 2013. The change also allows the benefit to be retroactive to Jan. 1, 2012. The transit benefit fell to $125 per month in 2012 after Congress failed to extend the higher level at the end of 2011. Under IRS rules, the benefits are exclud- ed from an employee's gross income for income tax purposes, and from an employee's wages for payroll tax purposes. National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelley, who has been a vocal proponent of restoring the higher benefit, said she was "pleased to see this very positive step." To see more, go to: www.nteu.org/ PressKits/PressRelease/PressRelease. aspx?ID=1850. Panetta urges Congress to eliminate sequester threat Defense Secretary Leon Panetta thanked lawmakers for passing the "fis- cal cliff " bill to temporarily avoid across- January 14, 2013 Vol. 62, No. 24 5 Visit us on the Internet at www.FederalDaily.com continued from page 4 continued on page 8
Dec. 17, 2012
Jan. 21, 2013