60 Second Updates

NTEU Opposed to Federal Hiring Freeze
NTEU supports 106 members of Congress urging the President-elect to reconsider the plan to implement an immediate federal hiring freeze.

In a letter to President-elect Trump, the representatives led by Rep. Stephen F. Lynch (D-Mass.), warned the hiring freeze will decrease transparency, efficiency and accountability in the federal government. Members of Congress revisited a
Government Accountability Office (GAO) report concluding that a series of hiring freezes disrupted agency operations and diminished federal oversight of programs. That loss of mission-critical skills, heightened by an approaching retirement wave, shows a serious danger.

“A hiring freeze will increase backlogs, decrease service quality and frustrate Americans seeking help from their government,” said Reardon. “Empty desks, dormant computers and ringing telephones don’t deliver vital public services and safeguard our nation, federal workers do.”

Congress Passes FY 2017 Budget Resolution
Congress has set broad funding guidelines for fiscal year (FY) 2017 in the budget resolution that has now passed both the House and the Senate. The congressional resolution provides for “reconciliation,” a procedure allowing future budget bills to be considered without a filibuster in the Senate, and to pass by a lower threshold—a 51-vote majority rather than the typical 60-vote requirement. House and Senate leadership have indicated this reconciliation procedure will be used on legislation not yet introduced to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

The resolution provides guidelines to congressional committees, including a Jan. 27 deadline for certain committees to report on legislation repealing the Affordable Care Act and to produce targeted savings. NTEU will be working to ensure that such legislation does not have a negative impact on federal employees.

OPM: FEHBP Carriers Focus on Drug Costs
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) released the annual call letter on the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) to carriers. In 2018, OPM is encouraging carriers to continue balancing participant’s prescription drug needs with escalating drug costs.

“OPM appreciates efforts carriers have made to provide drug cost calculators that display up-to-date information and requirements for covered prescription drugs,” the letter said.

According to OPM, 25.5 percent of the FEHBP budget went to prescription drugs in 2015. NTEU will work with the growing number of elected officials calling for prescription drug reforms, to ensure that any actions taken to address the cost of prescription drugs include relief for FEHBP.

NTEU members have only a few days left to explore their health care options with the Consumers’ Checkbook. This exclusive benefit can help make sense of your choices in the Federal Employee Health Benefit Program (FEHBP). You will find:
• Real Cost Comparisons: Plans’ costs and rankings, including out-of-pocket expenses, are available.
• Quick Access to Answers: Checkbook is your resource to find answers quickly.
• Dental and Vision Plans: Full guide to pick the best option for you.