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NEWS FROM NARFE

Call Congress: Joint budget agreement vote still pending
NARFE
Congress failed to meet the legal deadline of April 15 for adopting a joint budget resolution, but House and Senate leaders appointed members to a budget conference committee that is meeting this week. The committee is responsible for drafting the final fiscal year 2016 budget that must pass both the House and Senate.

The House and Senate passed budget resolutions in March that would cut billions of dollars' worth of pay and benefits from federal employees and retirees. The House budget proposed $318 billion in "savings" by raising the cost of health insurance for all FEHBP participants, eliminating federal jobs, increasing retirement contributions for current employees and, perhaps most shocking, changing the rate of return on the Thrift Savings Plan G Fund. The Senate budget, while less specific in how it would cut costs, still asks the federal community for $170 billion toward deficit reduction. The joint budget agreement is expected to include the same severe cuts.

NARFE is continuing to ask all members to call and/or write their senators and representative to tell them to vote "No" on any joint budget resolution that includes cuts to federal employees' and retirees' pay and benefits. Click here for instructions on how to call in and what to say. NARFE's toll-free number, 1-866-220-0044, is available for members to use. NOW is the time to take action.
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FEDERAL BENEFITS QUESTION OF THE WEEK


FEHBP coverage for spouse
NARFE
Question: Due to my wife's recent full-time employment, including medical benefits, I switched my own Federal Employees Health Benefits Program plan to self only. I am having second thoughts about whether to continue with self only or include her in my federal plan during the next Open Season. I am concerned that, in the event I pass away while a federal employee, my wife would not be able to join my federal health plan. Upon my death, I want to ensure that she can stop working at any time and be covered under my medical plan. I am retirement-eligible, as I meet the age and service requirements, and have been covered by the FEHBP for at least the past five years.
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FEDERAL UPDATE


How to prepare for a retirement storm
Government Executive
As you probably know by now, there are some serious threats to federal retirement benefits on the table this year in Congress. GovExec reports have been keeping you well apprised of these proposals. NARFE's legislative staff will earn their keep this year fighting such proposals.
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No automatic enrollment in self plus one
FEDWeek
Those interested in the new self plus one option in the FEHB program that will be available for the 2016 plan year will have to elect to enroll in it, OPM has said. In a briefing to benefits officers, OPM stressed that FEHB enrollees with only one eligible family member will not be enrolled automatically, saying neither OPM nor employing agencies have authority to make such a change on their own.
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New survivor benefit policy vexes retiree
Military Times
Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Harold Brown, one of World War II's famed Tuskegee Airmen, survived being shot down over Austria near the end of the war. He also survived the following weeks as a prisoner of war, including time at the notorious Moosburg POW camp. Shortly after the war, as a flight instructor, he survived a midair crash.
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2 decades after Oklahoma City bombing, the crime still sears workers
The Washington Post
April 19 marked the 20th anniversary of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The crime still sears federal employees. Timothy McVeigh, an Army veteran of Operation Desert Storm, was executed for what the FBI called "the worst act of homegrown terrorism in the nation's history." Terry Nichols, an Army buddy, will die in prison for his role in the attack.
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Postal Service moves ahead with delivery fleet contract
Federal Times
The Postal Service has narrowed the list of companies competing for a multibillion-dollar contract to supply the agency with its next generation of delivery vehicles The agency released a list of prequalified sources for the contract April 14, which include Ford motor company, AM General LLC, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles U.S. LLC and Nissan North America Inc., among others.
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House targets tax-delinquent federal employees in vote
The Hill
The House failed to pass a measure April 15 to prohibit anyone with tax delinquencies from working for the federal government. House Republicans considered a series of tax-related legislation April 15 to commemorate Tax Day, the annual deadline for Americans to file their returns. The House considered the bills under a fast-track procedure known as suspension of the rules, which requires a two-thirds majority for passage.
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FINANCES


Rental rates rising among retiring boomers
ThinkAdvisor
A fully paid off home — once a quintessential part of the American dream, is becoming far less popular among a new generation of retirees. In lieu of the stability and security home ownership provides, more and more retiring baby boomers are choosing the convenience and flexibility of apartments and condominiums.
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HEALTH


Hearing aids may slow cognitive decline tied to hearing loss
Reuters
Hearing aids may lessen the forgetfulness and mental confusion tied to moderate to severe hearing loss, suggests a new study. "This study is important because it focuses on a risk factor that is amenable to intervention in later life and could potentially postpone cognitive decline," said Jennifer Deal, the study's lead author from the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. She and her colleagues write in the American Journal of Epidemiology that previous studies found a link to an increased risk between hearing loss and cognition problems.
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SECOND CAREERS


7 things to do at the start of your job search
Forbes
If you've been thinking about a job search, or if you got discouraged before and are waiting to jump back in, get your job search started ASAP. Here are seven things to do to in the first week of a job search.
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TRAVEL


US warning against travel to 'many parts' of Mexico shows small improvements
Forbes
Millions of Americans safely visit Mexico each year for study, tourism and business, including 150,000 who cross the U.S.-Mexican border every day. Yet, Americans continue to be the target of violent crimes, kidnapping, carjacking and robbery by organized criminal groups in "many parts" of Mexico, warned the State Department in a new Travel Warning issued April 13.
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CONSUMER TIPS


7 energy-efficient home improvements for the summer
HomeAdvisor via RISMedia
Summer is hot, and if your home isn't prepared for the warmer weather, your utility bills can increase significantly. Rather than spending a fortune over the next few months, why not take steps to prepare your home and make it more efficient? Here are some steps to help.
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We are NARFE. Join us!
The National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association is the only membership organization solely dedicated to protecting and preserving the benefits of all federal workers and retirees. NARFE is your legislative voice and your information resource. Join now.

Visit NARFE on the Web at www.narfe.org.



  
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NARFE NewsWatch from the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association
Disclaimer: The articles that appear in NARFE NewsWatch are chosen from a variety of sources to reflect topics of interest to active and retired federal employees. With the exception of Federal Benefits Question of the Week and News From NARFE, an article's inclusion in NARFE NewsWatch does not imply that the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) endorses, supports or verifies its contents or expressed opinions. Factual errors are the responsibility of the listed publication.

Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601   Download media kit
Bianca Gibson, Executive Editor, 469.420.2611   Contribute news
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