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Federal Employees News Digest : Nov 4, 2013
Phil Piemonte, Managing Editor E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org What's Inside44 NOVEMBER 4, 2013 • VOL. 63, NO. 16 A tweet too far Growing up without a father, I once asked a friend what it was like to have a man around the house. His answer wasn't much help, because he didn't know what it was like not to hear the pitter patter of size 11 feet at home. When I asked him the best advice his father gave him, he responded without hesitation: "Don't do anything stupid." The don't-do-anything-stupid mantra was important back when our ancestors were dodging saber-tooth tigers. And it is equally important today when learning how to survive and thrive is still a top priority. I thought about it the other day when another fellow---a federal employee like yourself---was fired from a highly sen- sitive, well-paying National Security Council to-die-for job. For doing what he himself said was, in retrospect, Stupid with a capital S. Although NSC staffers are told not to use or even look at Twitter, he was on it, looked at it and used it. Boy, did he ever. The popular social network, which limits you to 140 characters, has gotten lots of people in trouble. Or---more accurately--- it has made it easier and faster for people to get themselves into trouble. Even this fellow's handle was wrong, as in bad. Do you tweet stuff about the NSC INSIGHT BY MIKE CAUSEY continued on page 2 For more news...see Federal Daily at www.FederalDaily.com • Lawmaker would open FEHB 3 • DOL recalls benefits 3 • In Brief 6 • You Be the Judge 8 • Informed Investor 10 • Federal Benefits Q&A 12 continued on page 3 New threats to compensation on horizon Federal employees can breathe a sigh of relief to be back at work after the longest shutdown in decades---but now they face yet another tough prospect: proposals to further cut their pay and benefits. To begin with, the sequester remains in place. Mandatory cuts trimmed $85 bil- lion from the federal budget in 2013 and are slated to cut even more, some $109 billion in 2014. These cuts will hit hiring, increasing workload, and---through further furloughs---affect pay and benefits as well. But as federal employee unions pointed out last week, the biggest threat right now to federal pay comes from a familiar place, the House majority and its strong Tea Party component. Proposal remains ‘serious threat’ Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, has put forward legislation calling for federal employees to increase their required contribution to the Federal Employees Retirement System, rais- ing it from 0.8 percent of pay to 6.3 per- cent---a difference of 5.5 percent of gross. That's a lot of money, considering the only raise feds have seen in years is the 1 percent bump that will begin in January unless blocked by Congress. "The biggest threat to federal employee compensation right now is the Ryan propos- al to make federal workers pay thousands of dollars more each year out-of-pocket for no added benefit whatsoever," Randy Erwin, National Federation of Federal Employees legislative director, told FEND. "His solu- tion to our country's budget problems once again is to make middle-class federal work- ers pay more, while protecting countless special interests from making their first contribution to deficit reduction." "Federal workers have already contrib- uted $114 billion in deficit reduction over the last three years in cuts to their pay and benefits---more than $50,000 per federal employee on average," Erwin said. "That figure doesn't include losses that federal workers incurred due to sequestration- related furloughs---billions of dollars more. Enough is enough. Congressman Ryan needs look elsewhere for his cuts at this point." Erwin noted that Ryan's most recent proposal to raise employee contributions "mirrors the proposals made in the Ryan budget that passed Congress earlier this year." It has passed the House before, and it remains a real potential problem for federal employees. "Ryan's plan is a very serious threat," Erwin told FEND. "I believe his attacks on middle-class federal workers are misguided, but they are relentless." The American Federation of Government Employees also fired back at Ryan's and other proposals on Capitol Hill that would further burden feds with cuts. An AFGE statement, posted Oct. 29, focused on the threat posed by Ryan's proposed 5.5 per-
Oct 28, 2013
Nov 11, 2013