PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE - Scott Robinson
With an upcoming debt limit deadline and budget negotiations ongoing,
differing factions in the House Republican caucus are putting out their lists of
policy priorities. Recently, the House’s Republican Study Committee, one of
the two most conservative caucuses of House Republicans, released its “Debt
Limit Playbook,” outlining policy priorities to reduce spending.
Relevant to NARFE, this Playbook proposes to cut federal employee benefits such as (1)
basing annuities on an employee’s highest five years of earnings; (2)
increasing the employee contributions to the Federal Employees Retirement
System (FERS); (3) reducing or eliminating cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for the FERS and Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS); (4) eliminating the FERS Annuity Supplement; and (5) reducing the rate of return of the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) G fund. Additional proposals would (6) raise the employee share of FERS contributions to the highest current percentage for all current FERS employees, (7) create a TSP- only retirement system, (8) voucherize the government share of Federal Employee Health Benefit (FEHB) program premiums, and (9) implement Chained-CPI for all government COLAs.
The Playbook also calls for reversing discretionary spending levels for Fiscal Years 2023 and 2024 to Fiscal Year 2022 levels. NARFE supports proper funding of the Office of Personnel Management to ensure accurate, reliable, and timely customer service, as well as sufficient funds to allow for a federal pay raise. Significant spending cuts could jeopardize recent plans put in place to modernize OPM’s technology and improve processes (source narfe.org).
Please call me at 208-661-7695 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions regarding Spokane Chapter 32.
ALZHEIMER’S (vacant Chairperson)
For the past few months, this ghost writer has shared information about a new drug, Leqembi, and government approval of it. On 22 March 2023, Alzheimer’s Association advocates from across the nation joined together in Washington, D.C. to face U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra during his testimony at two Senate budget hearings. Multiple senators from both sides of the aisle questioned Secretary Becerra about the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) decision to block access for Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved Alzheimer’s treatments.
Medicare has always covered FDA-approved treatments for those living with disease, but apparently not for Alzheimer’s disease. “Each day that CMS blocks access, more than 2,000 people transition to a more advanced stage of Alzheimer’s where they are no longer eligible for treatment,” said Robert Egge, chief public policy officer of the Alzheimer’s Association and AIM executive director. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said, “[The CMS policy] is requiring additional clinical trials or registries that could create logistical challenges for people in rural areas as well as the providers who are trying to take care of them, because they’re not all eligible based on where you are” (source alz.org).
Spokane Chapter is recruiting an Alzheimer’s Chairperson. If you are interested in sharing your learned knowledge with the group, then please contact any Officer or Director. With no chairperson, a village is needed to share information with our group.
PROGRAM (vacant Chairperson)
If you missed our March meeting, then I encourage you to go to narfespokane.org/news to read about last month’s guest speaker, Jonathan Hulog and the U.S. Border Patrol.
Phil Altmeyer will talk to us about the Union Gospel Mission in April. Mary Binder will talk about her relationship between District Vice-president and the chapters in May.
We hope to have a new staff assistant from Senator Murray’s Office speak in June.
We won’t meet during July and August, but we’re planning Spokane Chapter’s 73rd birthday party in September.
We hope to have Hospice talk to us in October.
Ann Ozuna will present her annual review of Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) in November, and we’ll celebrate the holidays during December.
That sums up the balance of the year, folks. Please join us if you can. I hope to see you there.
Spokane Chapter is recruiting a Program Chairperson. If you are interested in sharing your learned knowledge with the group, please contact any Officer or Director.
The Chapter is looking for a Membership Chair. If you are interested, please contact any of the Officers or Directors. Come be a part of a great group of people fighting for your benefits.
APRIL CHAPTER MEETING MONDAY APRIL 10, 2023
Lunch at 11:30; Meeting at 12:15 Darcy’s Restaurant
10502 E. Sprague Ave.
PRESENTER: Phil Altmeyer – Union Gospel Mission
Phil will be discussing UGM's strategy in reducing homelessness in Spokane.
Darcy's Restaurant and Spirits
Traditional American Cuisine
10502 E Sprague Ave
Spokane Valley, WA 99206
+1 (509) 891-0773
The meeting will be available via ZOOM:
The ZOOM information is: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84692463195?pwd=R3M0eFF0NzRaMFo3bTNvNERDNHBBUT09
Meeting ID: 846 9246 3195 Passcode: 137652
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
NARFE – PAC (Vacant Chairperson)
For several years, this ghost writer has said, “the Congress giveth and the Congress taketh.” Over time, the Congress has given federal employees and annuitants employment benefits, such as health benefits, in exchange for lower wages of comparable jobs in the private sector.
NARFE-PAC supports Fed-friendly legislators who understand that government should keep the promises made to its public servants. NARFE-PAC bolsters the profile of our top issues, educates lawmakers on the issues that affect us most, and doing away with the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO). You can help protect our earned benefits by contributing to NARFE-PAC (source narfe.org).
You can contribute to NARFE – PAC using the contribution form found in the monthly NARFE Magazine or by sending a check, made out to NARFE – PAC, to our Post Office Box. The address is: NARFE, PO Box 4592, Spokane, WA 99220.
LEGISLATION - Roger Bosky
The repeal of the Government Pension Offset/Windfall Elimination Provision (GPO/WEP) continues to gather steam. Senators Brown, Collins, and Markey have reintroduced the Senate version of the Social Security Fairness Act (S 597). The bill would fully repeal the GPO and WEP.
Over 2.5 million retirees are denied their full retirement benefits because of the GPO/WEP, justifiably called the evil twins of Social Security. Last year the House bill repealing the evil twins had 305 cosponsors, a record high, even though it expired without a vote. HR 82, currently before Congress, already has 204 cosponsors. We need to tell Congress to get on board to give workers their full share of earned benefits.
Other bills needing our attention are HR 866 which would give FERS retirees a full cost of living adjustment (COLA) rather than a potential 1% yearly reduction; and HR 716 which changes the way COLAs are computed to reflect the spending habits of the elderly more accurately.
PAST VICE PRESIDENT - Arlene Patton
LEGcon 2023 is scheduled for June 19-21, 2023, National has announced that this year’s conference will be held virtually. Registration is now open, so please be an early bird and get your registration in. The WSFederation has budgeted funds to cover 80 registrations.
A special thanks to Gisela Moyle and Beverly Benka for conducting the required Chapter 32 audit of both the Chapter’s general fund and seminar fund accounts. Their review resulted in no issues.
Membership recap for the first quarter of 2023: 5 members were dropped for non-renewal, 2 members passed away, 1 member transferred into the Chapter and 25 members renewed. A special thanks to all that continue to support Chapter 32 by renewing their Chapter membership. Records show we currently have 225 Chapter members and 208 National Only members for a total of 433 members.
Chapter 0032-Spokane will be celebrating its 73rd anniversary during our September 11th Chapter meeting. We hope to have the National Region 9 Vice President and the WSFederation president join us for that meeting/celebration. Mark your calendar and come out and join us for the celebration.
NARFE is more than just a great magazine. Let them know!
Promote NARFE anytime you can. The more members we have the more power to protect our benefits and retirement!
NARFE = YOUR BEST BET FOR THE FUTURE!
WEBSITE - Chris Smith
I have become the new webmaster for the NARFE Spokane website.
The link is https://www.narfespokane.org
The website lives on both computer and mobile (phone) sites, so periodically something slips by me. Check out the news and newsletter tab for the latest, including Candice Correia’s references from her February presentation on 2022 taxes and a synopsis of Jonathan Hulog's March program on the Border Patrol. I’ve begun to include some pictures of speakers and past and future events on the website as well.
Please contact me at email@example.com if you find any errors or have any pictures or pertinent articles that may be of interest to members.
SUNSHINE Susan Harvey
As I write this, the sun is shining. Sunshine will not last long since April showers will bring May flowers. Remember, none of us are spring chickens and yard work is not easy. Take care of your bodies and minds.
The Chapter is sending birthday and anniversary wishes to all who celebrate in April.
Scott Robinson is continuing the search for a Membership, Alzheimer’s, and Programs Chairs. Call him if you are interested.
REMINDER, spouses can be members on their own OR can take over the membership of a deceased member.
If you become aware of good news, illnesses, surgeries, or a death of a member or family member, please contact me at 509-953-6828.
SERVICE & OUTREACH Kathy Brooks
We are planning the Pre-Retirement Seminar for our future retirees. It is scheduled May 22nd and 23rd. If you are, or know anyone interested in attending, please reach out to Kathy Brooks at 509-954-6719, firstname.lastname@example.org or
Spokane Washington Chapter 32
PO Box 4592
Spokane, WA 99220
SPOKANE SERVICE CENTER