IRS Leave Bank's second Open Season ends today. Be sure to make your election if you'd like to participate in this incredible program.
Your association has been hard at work over the last two weeks meeting extensively with key members of Congress. Our primary focus was in making the case for robust IRS funding as part of the ongoing infrastructure negotiations directly with the Congress and indirectly through our media relationships. We held a briefing last week which was open to the press and Congress, and we were very pleased to see that Senator Rob Portman sent three staffers to learn more about what IRS managers are facing without the resources they need to succeed. We also issued a formal letter to the House Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs stressing the need for the Committee to act on two pending nominations to the MSPB. Once confirmed, these nominees would restore a quorum to the Board and finally resume normal operations while working through a backlog approaching four years in duration.
PMA members, keep an eye out for an email from PMA's Communications Liaison, Natalia Castro, inviting you to participate in our very first legislative action. Our newest member benefit helps you add your voice to PMA's advocacy on Capitol Hill. We prepared a letter you can send to your representatives and senators to help us in our push for a meaningful Federal pay raise in 2022. If you choose to participate, and we hope you will, be sure to use your personal email address.
Keep an eye on our blog for a list of even more free and low-cost learning opportunities! Here's a roundup of some noteworthy resources:
1. Are you or your staff holding an active CPA license? The IRS offers a wide variety of CPA CPE courses;
2. Access this free e-book - How To Be A Better Manager - from our friends at Government Executive;
3. July 28, 12PM-12:45PM Eastern, join Federal workplace expert Mika Cross and management professor Dr. Scott Behson for a discussion about building strategies for resilient workers. Register for this free event;
4. August 4, 2PM-3PM Eastern, join NASA's Digital Transformation Officer and Adobe's Director of Digital Media Product Enablement for a discussion about the future of digital workflows in government. Register for this free event;
5. August 10, 11AM-12PM Eastern, join Franklin Covey for a discussion on the four essential roles of leadership and how they will help you to engage your team for high performance. Register for this free event; and
6. August 12, 2PM-3PM Eastern, join GAO Chief Data Scientist Taka Ariga and DOL Deputy Chief Information Officer Rick Kryger for a moderated discussion about best practices enabling teams to work from anywhere with seamless, cross-agency collaboration, and secure mission-critical processes. Register for this free event.
Thank you to those members who were able to join us on Tuesday for a presentation from our newest partner, WAEPA. WAEPA's Senior Vice President of Operations, Tony Zerante, met with us to discuss WAEPA membership, group term life insurance options, short-term disability coverage, and their chronic illness rider which allows participants to get an advance on their life insurance policy when their health takes a turn for the worst. As a reminder, by registering for our member portal, you can access our growing library of recorded presentations - a free benefit exclusively for our members.
Federal student loans can be forgiven under certain circumstances, generally after 120 timely payments, made while working for a government or certain non-profits. For years, FedLoan Servicing has managed PSLF-eligible loans but will not be renewing their contract when it ends in December. As a result, those of you in the program or with family members in the program will have your loans transferred automatically to a new lender who will administer your loan. Be sure to keep an eye out for letters and emails from FedLoan Servicing as this transfer gets underway. If you will be impacted by this transfer, PMA recommends that you take several steps now to protect yourself, including downloading and saving your payment histories and important correspondence, updating your contact information, and monitoring your accounts and credit reports.
Despite our outreach efforts, the Senate minority pressured infrastructure talks and the IRS long-term funding provisions was removed from the bill. We are deeply disappointed but this setback will not keep us from continuing to advocate for this historic investment. Our Government Affairs team is working tirelessly this week to get us in front of lawmakers so we can continue to share your stories. We won't stop until the IRS has what it needs to support you and alleviate the burden you each experience each day. For their part, former commissioners Goldberg and Rossotti wrote an op-ed criticizing this decision and supporting PMA's message that the proposal would correct tax policy failures which lead to unfair enforcement outcomes.
Federal benefits expert and longtime friend of PMA, Tammy Flanagan, wrote an article this week explaining the forthcoming cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for SSA recipients and FERS annuitants. If you chose the TSP Annuity option, you also may experience a larger COLA than in the past. Due to inflationary pressure as our economy continues to stabilize from the impact of the pandemic, the COLA computation could be as high as 6% for SSA and 5% for FERS - we won't know for sure until mid-October. We will share more information in the autumn.
We are pleased that Commissioner Rettig and his team found a path to renew the NTEU National Agreement for 2022. Through our Government Affairs team, PMA has been meeting with NTEU representatives to find areas where we can work together. NTEU National President Tony Reardon wrote a very important op-ed about the need for paid family medical leave in which he criticizes some members of Congress for their unkind remarks about our dedicated Civil Service workforce. We are aligned with NTEU's view on this important legislation and look forward to pushing Congress to pass the bill. We also are aligned on an important piece of Federal worker safety legislation which never made it out of the prior congressional session. The Senate reintroduced the Chai Suthammanont Remembrance Act which would ensure workplace safety as we continue to return to our offices. Mr. Suthammanont was a Federal worker who died after contracting COVID-19 at his workplace. NTEU and PMA each have voiced our strenuous support of this bill and this provides another opportunity for all voices at the IRS to work toward a common goal.