On Thursday, President Biden signed the Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila Federal Officers and Employees Protection Act into law at a ceremony held in the State Dining Room of the White House. The Zapata-Avila Act ensures that laws protecting Federal agents from attacks apply while working abroad after the DC Circuit Court of Appeals determined that prior law applied only within US territory.
PMA was honored to receive the President's invitation and to have the opportunity to stand alongside Vice President Harris, Senators Patrick Leahy, Dick Durbin, Sheldon Whitehouse, Chris Coons, and Richard Blumenthal, Congressman Henry Cuellar, Attorney General Merrick Garland, and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas as the President signed this important legislation. Read PMA's press release about the importance of this law and the legacy of Special Agent Jaime Zapata.
With the infrastructure bill signed, the House focused its attention back to the pending budget reconciliation legislation - the Build Back Better Act. This passed in the House yesterday and is now pending in the Senate. Should the bill make it through in its current version, it would contain historic funding for the IRS, especially to help enhance enforcement. The bill is paid for in large part by narrowing the tax gap by at least $400 billion, largely coming from wealthy households who are no longer subject to routine audits because we lack the resources to perform them. For his part, IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig penned a persuasive op-ed in the Washington Post explaining to the public why the IRS so badly needs this investment.
Our greater issues around the FY22 budget continue - there's talk on the Hill of another CR - and we continue to have the debt ceiling issue looming.
Congress is taking another swing at reforming the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). Under current law, Federal employees that retire under the Civil Service Retirement System but also worked some time in the private sector have their Social Security benefits reduced. This penalizes people who worked hard in the private sector in addition to their Federal career. Under the proposed Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act, changes would be made to increase fairness based upon the beneficiary's age. PMA has long advocated for repeal of WEP but we support any congressional effort to mitigate the deleterious impact of the current law.
The Civil Service is always in need of sincere, meaningful support from lawmakers. PMA recognized Congressman Gerry Connolly's unwavering support of Federal workers in a piece featured in last week's FEDforum. PMA has worked closely with Rep. Connolly for years to advance legislation around pay and benefits for Federal workers, and more recently to bring key resources to the Internal Revenue Service. Currently, we are working with his staff to promote the FAIR Act, seeking a 3.2% pay increase for the workforce.
On December 8-10, the 2021 Senior Executives Association (SEA) Federal Leadership Summit is the Federal government’s premier leadership development and policy gathering that invites attendees to Embrace Change and Lead Transformation.
Throughout the last 18 months, with an increase and emphasis on an evolving hybrid and digital world, organizations have learned that human skills of leadership, communication, emotional intelligence, etc. are key to organizational and employee success. Today’s Government leaders are being challenged to meet this new work dynamic head on - which requires different ways of
thinking and being.
The Summit attracts senior Federal executives, as well as rising leaders to…
-Discuss cutting edge practices, policies, initiatives, technologies, and more that are shaping the government landscape for the future.
-Learn from experts about new leadership education and training techniques.
And through evocative keynote speakers, breakout panel discussions, engaging thought leadership presentations, curated workshops, and a dynamic virtual experience, the virtual leadership summit will provide attendees with the tools, resources, and ideas to thrive in this volatile and ever-changing world.
Read the full summit agenda and purchase tickets. PMA members and IRS workers enjoy 20% off of registration with promo code SEAPartner20. The session recordings will be available to registrants in case live attendance conflicts with your schedule.
PMA's Kansas City Chapter, led by Chapter President Sherryee Akinmoladun, partnered with the Association for the Improvement of Minorities (AIM-IRS) to donate more than 6,000 school supplies to schools in the Kansas City region. We are grateful for the generosity of everyone who participated in making this year a little easier for kids. Read more about the drive on the front page of October's W&I Offline.
After more than a decade, OPM released an update to its telework guidance. The OPM guidance also features a new section entirely dedicated to remote work, which has been steadily increasing over the past few years. Under non-emergency circumstances, teleworking employees are expected to return to the office to some degree each pay period, whereas remote employees are not expected to make regular office appearances and may therefore live a significant distance from the agency’s traditional worksite. According to the fact sheet released on the guidance, the COVID-19 pandemic and maximum telework posture that agencies took in response to that pandemic present an opportunity “to revisit how they were operating prior to the pandemic and leverage lessons learned to integrate telework and remote work.” PMA will be working closely with OPM as it continues to refine this guidance to ensure telework policies reflect the realities of a modern, distributed workforce.
Thank you to those who were able to join PMA's partner FEDS Protection for an overview of the professional liability risks facing IRS managers. In case you missed it, you can view a recording of the presentation.
Join MARCH Mediation on December 3rd at 11AM Eastern to learn more about "The Impact of Forgiveness on Your Mental Health." Dawn Kuhlman will share the results of her research into the nexus of self-forgiveness and forgiveness of others and the implications of the findings on both intra- and interpersonal relationships. She will also discuss the forgiveness process and how to move forward, explore the impact of not forgiving, and differentiate the internal processes of self-forgiveness from forgiveness of others. Free and open to all. Registration and Zoom account required.
Back by popular demand! Join PMA's newest partner, American Benefits Exchange, on December 7th at 3PM Eastern to learn how to maximize your federal benefits. Out of the more than two million individuals employed by the Federal Government, it is quite possible that you could have important questions regarding your federal benefits. A limited understanding of FEGLI, your Pension, Survivors Annuity, FEHB, Social Security and Thrift Savings Plan could cost you thousands of dollars during your working career, and even larger amounts of money during your retirement. This webinar will include provide much needed information so you can understand your current situation, what things cost, how those costs change over time, how you are trending towards retirement, and the additional options available to you. This free event is open to everyone - register today!
The PMA National Board voted to adopt a small increase in dues for 2022. You will see dues increase by $1 per pay period, beginning in Pay Period 1. We've been proud of our ability to keep dues affordably priced at just $3.50 per pay period for more than 10 years and we now need to adjust dues to account for inflation. We hope you will understand. At the same time, we want your PMA membership to be more valuable to you than ever and we've taken steps to modernize our association this year and to increase our impact both within the IRS and on Capitol Hill.
In addition to the benefits you've long enjoyed, this year we launched our new website and member portal, we debuted our new grassroots legislative engagement tool, and we expanded our very popular scholarship program to include members' grandchildren. We also formed new relationships with WAEPA to help members find an affordable alternative to FEGLI and with American Benefits Exchange to help members make the most of their federal benefits. Soon, we will launch an academic partnership which will provide access to affordable undergraduate and graduate education to all our members and their families. Behind the scenes, we've been working tirelessly to improve our databases and records systems so that PMA can be an association for the 21st century. We are incredibly proud of our new consultative agreement with the IRS, formalizing our relationship with our agency for the first time in our 40-year history of advocacy. We've also become more engaged in Washington and tell your story everyday to legislators and their staffs in our quest to secure badly needed resources for our agency. We still have more to do but we wanted to highlight what we've been able to accomplish in 2021.
PMA is the only membership association dedicated exclusively to the Internal Revenue Service. Our National Board and Chapters are led by current, active IRS leaders and PMA's Executive Director is himself a former IRS manager. We know how challenging it can be to lead within the Service and we are proud to serve you. We also work hard for you in retirement and encourage you, or anyone you know, to consider purchasing a lifetime membership. Lifetime memberships are available to retirees for a one-time payment of $100 through December 31st. In January, we will continue to offer lifetime memberships for $125.