The following is a response to an important letter that a number of members have sent to their congressional delegation. It encourages our law makers not to miss treat Federal employees and Retirees as well as seniors in general unfairly in the budget process. If you have not yet sent such a letter to your Congressman and two Senators, I would ask you to logon to narfe.org and do so at your soonest convenience. Numbers do count!
“Thank you for getting in touch with me regarding our nation’s outstanding federal employees. It’s great to hear from you on this important subject.
Federal employees are on the front lines every day, protecting our borders, taking care of our veterans, keeping our food safe, and developing life-saving technologies. Federal employees should be thanked and recognized. Instead, they’ve been the targets of unending attacks.
As Vice Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I am fighting hard for federal employees. I think of Maryland’s federal employees every day.
First, I have been fighting for your safety and security following the OPM breach. I have used the tools of the Appropriations Committee to fight for a stronger response from your government, and for the resources and reforms to prevent another breach from happening again.
My amendment providing federal employees impacted by the data breach with ten years of credit-monitoring and identity theft protection services as well as $5 million dollars in liability protection was adopted by the Senate Appropriations Committee during consideration of the Fiscal Year 2016 Financial Services Appropriations Bill (S. 1910) on July 23, 2015. This bill was subsequently passed out of Committee.
In addition, my amendment to appropriate $37 million dollars for OPM cyber protection improvements will be considered by the full Senate when it takes up the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (S. 754) later this fall. This bill would improve the security of federal cyber systems and expand protections for federal employees affected by recent data breaches.
I also joined Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) in introducing the RECOVER Act (S. 1746). This bill would provide federal employees who were compromised by the data breach lifetime identity protection and $5 million in identity theft insurance.
Second, I am working hard to give you and your families a raise. I am a co-sponsor of the FAIR Act (S.164). This bill would build on the 1% raise that I fought hard to secure in Fiscal Year 2015 by increasing salaries by 3.8% in 2016. The FAIR Act is currently pending in the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. I also protected President Obama’s right to propose the recent federal employee cost of living increase for fiscal year 2016 by making sure no provision was included in the Senate’s Fiscal Year 2016 Financial Services Appropriations Bill to block a pay increase. Most recently, I joined with Senator Cardin in introducing the Federal Employee Fair Treatment Act of 2015 (S.2035). This bill guarantees retroactive pay to any federal employee furloughed by a government shutdown.
Finally, I am fighting government cuts to your pay and benefits and working to get a bipartisan budget deal to prevent dangerous cuts to your agency’s mission. Congress must lift the discretionary budget caps, end sequester, and provide parity between defense and non-defense spending.
Thanks again for contacting me. You can count on me to continue fighting for our hard-working federal employees. Please let me know if I can be of assistance to you in the future.”
Barbara A. Mikulski
United States Senator