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Federal Employees News Digest : Dec 16, 2013
December 16, 2013 Vol. 63, No. 22 3 Visit us on the Internet at www.FederalDaily.com government shutdown and roll back sequestration's cuts to defense and domestic investments in a balanced way," said Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-Wash.). "It's a good step in the right direction that can hopefully rebuild some trust and serve as a foundation for continued bipartisan work." House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said he was proud of the agreement. "It reduces the deficit---without rais- ing taxes," he said. "And it cuts spending in a smarter way. It's a firm step in the right direction, and I ask all my col- leagues in the House to support it." The budget negotiators beat the dead- line for producing a bipartisan pro- posal. Conferees introduced the legisla- tion ahead of the Dec. 13 conference deadline, and in time to allow a vote under House rules before the scheduled adjournment of the chamber at the end of the week for the winter recess. Next the bill would go to the Senate, which had not yet officially scheduled the start date of its recess. Mixed reactions Joseph Beaudoin, president of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, in a statement said that the agreement "is not a deal federal employees are happy with, but it may be one they are forced to accept." "While this agreement squeezes even more savings from a federal work- force that has already sacrificed over $113 billion toward U.S. budget sav- ings in recent years, federal employ- ees are relieved the agreement offsets portions of sequestration," Beaudoin said. "With improved funding levels, we hope this deal avoids additional furloughs and workforce reductions. The furloughs federal employees were forced to undertake in 2013 caused unnecessary financial strain and anxi- continued from page 1 Don’t miss our discussion of weekly news topics. Discuss these stories and more with your fellow federal workers at www.FederalSoup.com. continued on page 4 ety, and a reprieve from this stress in the next two years is welcome." Beaudoin also said NARFE was pleased to see the self-plus-one FEHB option in the agreement. American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. issued a statement condemning the budget proposal. "Despite the extraordinarily hard work of several congressional lead- ers, AFGE cannot support any bud- get deal that asks for more from fed- eral employees," Cox stated. "AFGE rejects the notion that there should be a trade-off between funding the programs to which federal employees have devoted their lives, and their own livelihoods. Though the $6 billion in increased retirement contributions for new employees is less severe than the administration's $20 billion proposal, it is still unacceptable." The chair of Senate Appropriations Committee, Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), supported the bill, but expressed regrets that it contained another hit on federal employee benefits. "This bipartisan budget agreement has my support. It helps create cer- tainty for America's families and busi- nesses by preventing another govern- ment shutdown and averting sequester for two years," Mikulski said in a state- ment. "I hope it marks an end to the shutdown, slowdown, slamdown poli- tics that have damaged our economy and families." "I'm deeply disappointed it requires some federal employees to pay more for their retirement," she added. "I would have preferred for negotiators to find savings by closing tax loopholes and canceling outdated Dust Bowl-era farm subsidies. But because of this agreement, federal employees can get their cost-of-living increase and they will no longer face the uncertainties of furloughs and pay cuts. And I'm so relieved the agreement rejects the draconian proposal to make federal employees pay 5.5 percent more for their retirement." The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 would set overall discretionary spend- ing for the current fiscal year at $1.012 trillion---roughly the halfway point between the Senate budget level of $1.058 trillion and the House bud- get level of $967 billion. It contains $63 billion in sequester relief over two years, split more or less evenly between defense and non-defense programs, that is offset by savings elsewhere in the budget. In fiscal 2014, defense discre- OPM processes fewer retirement claims in November The Office of Personnel Management announced that it processed about half the num- ber of retirement claims in November than it had projected to complete for the month. OPM had expected to process 11,500 claims in November, but processed only 5,714 claims---slightly more than the 5,672 claims it received in the month. At the end of the November, OPM counted 14,134 claims in its inventory backlog -- virtually unchanged from the 14,176 it held at the end of October. At the same time, backlogged claims for the month stood at about 2,000 claims fewer than the 16,042 claims it had earlier forecast. The agency released the numbers in its monthly claims processing progress report. See the latest update at: www.opm.gov/about-us/budget-performance/strategic-plans/ retirement-processing-status.pdf.
Dec 9, 2013
Dec 23, 2013