Memorial Day 2014 Legislative Update from your Maryland Federation Legislative Committee

As we acknowledge Memorial Day, we not only salute our departed warriors but particularly recognize with gratitude our Veterans and Active Duty Military men and women in our Maryland NARFE family.  We must always remind ourselves of the sacrifices they and their families have made, and continue to make each day, to keep us out of harm’s way.

Our legislators on Capitol Hill have advanced a few bills of special interest to our Maryland NARFE members.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held several meetings on the Postal Reform Act, S. 1486, and voted to approve the Bill on February 6, 2014.  Senator Mikulski (D-MD), in response to NARFE Maryland Federation’s First Vice President and Legislative Chair Bishop Dr. Roundtree stated:  “…I understand your concerns about proposals to change health or retirement benefits for postal workers or change workers’ compensation for any federal employees injured on the job.  Knowing of your concerns will be very helpful to me, should this legislation be debated by the full Senate.”  On May 21, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee approved H.R. 4670, requiring the U.S. Postal Service to convert 1.5 million addresses per year, for the next 10 years, from “to the door” delivery, to neighborhood clusterboxes.  NARFE strongly opposes this proposal noting the covert danger where: “seniors especially would have to walk several blocks to retrieve their daily mail.”

The House approved Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act by 325-98.  The Bill: (automatically) provides cost-of-living 1.8 percent pay raise for troops (more than the Administration’s proposed one percent); freezes pay for general and flag officers in FY 2015 (recommended by the Administration); prohibits DOD from using funds to close Commissary stores (government-subsidized stores on bases for service members and their families); includes an amendment that extends for another five years, government agencies’ authority to re-hire federal retirees without a salary offset (recommended by NARFE); rejects the Administration’s reductions to TRICARE (DOD’s health care program); ditches the Administration’s proposal to execute another round of base closures, and directs DOD Secretary to submit a report by March 1, 2015 on BRAC effectiveness.

The Senate’s recess extends from May 26 to 30, and June 30 to July 4.  The House recesses from June 2 to 6, and June 30 to July 4.  Both Chambers are on summer recess from August 1 through September 5.

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