Congress is back in session and, as usual, the members have introduced a flurry of bills, some of which would affect federal employees and retirees if they were passed and signed into law.
I’ll start by to highlighting five of them that are very attractive:
H.R. 757 and S. 255, The Federal Adjustment of Income Rates (FAIR) Act. These companion bills provide a 2 percent pay increase for federal employees, as well as a 1.2 percent increase in locality pay.
H.R. 1022, the federal Employee Paid Parental Leave Act. This bill would provide federal employees with six weeks of paid leave in connection with the birth of adoption of a child.
H.R. 1205 and S. 915, a pair of bills that would repeal both the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP).
H.R. 1251, the CPI-E Act, a bill that would require the Social Security Administration and many federal agencies to use the Consumer Price Index of the elderly to calculate cost-of-living increases to retirement benefits.
H.R. 3269, the Federal Employees Pension Fairness Act, would repeal previous laws that increased the retirement contributions of newly hired Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) employees.
Next are two bills that are much less attractive, one of which applies solely to U.S. Postal Service retirees, the other to all federal employees:
H.R. 756, the Postal Service Reform Act, would require postal retirees to enroll in Medicare in order to continue receiving their current Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) coverage.
H.R. 3200, The Taxpayer-Funded Pension Disclosure Act, would call for public disclosure of federal pension data, including the names of every annuitant, the last agency of employment, as well as their grade, monthly annuity and total annuity contributions.
If you like or dislike any of these proposals, you need to let your members of Congress know. As the great writer Miguel de Unamuno once wrote, “Sometimes, to remain silent is to lie, since silence can be interpreted as assent.”
Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance planning at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.