DID YOU KNOW?? (Workers Compensation)


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Legislative Coordinator

Michael Meserve

84-803 Hanalei St.

Waianae, Hawaii 96792

Cell: 808-780-3097

Work: 808-838-4327

Fax: 808-838-4522

Email: cpl33nlc@gmail.com  

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Aloha, Brothers and Sisters:

First, I want to thank everyone for their help in urging their Senators not to accept the initial debt ceiling deal that came out of the House; the details of that proposal were very harmful to all federal employees' pay, benefits and retirement.

Details of the last minute deal over the Debt Ceiling that has been tentatively reached between the White House and leaders of the House and Senate are emerging; it appears that our pay and pensions are safe for the time being.

A bi-partisan "Super Committee" will be formed to make specific proposals for 1.5 trillion dollars in spending cuts over the next 10 years; the Super Committee will need to have their report in to Congress by November 23rd, 2011.  Congress would then have a straight 'up or down' vote by December 23rd, 2011 to accept the Super Committee's proposals, with no amendments.  If at any point, the process fails and the government bumps up against the spending caps set in place by the Debt Ceiling Deal, automatic across the board cuts (sequestration) would be triggered.

As you'll read below, the details leaking out so far say that "federal employee pay" will be exempted from the across the board cuts.

Thanks again for your help with this; I believe you had a part in making the difference.


What You Need to Know About the U.S. Debt Deal

President Barack Obama announced on Sunday that Republican and Democratic leaders had agreed on a last-ditch deal to raise the U.S. borrowing limit and avoid a catastrophic default, and he urged lawmakers to “do the right thing” and approve the agreement.

Here is a summary of the deal, based on documents provided by both parties, as well as interviews with lawmakers and aides:

  •  The deal would allow President Barack Obama to raise the debt ceiling in three steps. Congress would get a chance to register its disapproval on two of these, but would not be able to block them unless it musters a two-thirds vote in both the House and the Senate — an unlikely prospect.
  • It envisions spending cuts of roughly US$2.4 trillion over 10 years, which Congress would approve in two steps — an initial US$917 billion when the deal passes Congress and another US$1.5 trillion by the end of the year.
  • The first group of spending cuts would apply to the discretionary programs that Congress approves annually, covering everything from the military to food inspection.
  • Those programs would be capped each year for 10 years. The caps would be relatively modest at first to avoid stifling the shaky economy — spending for the fiscal year that begins October 1 would be only US$6 billion below the current level of US$1.049 trillion. The caps would have a greater impact in later years, when it is hoped that the economy will have recovered.
  • Some US$350 billion of the US$917 billion total would come from defense and other security programs which now account for more than half of all discretionary spending. Republicans are resisting this idea and it is one of the few areas of dispute left.
  • Automatic across-the-board spending cuts would kick in if Congress does not observe the caps in coming years.
  • A 12-member congressional committee, made up equally of Republicans and Democrats from each chamber, would be tasked with finding a further US$1.5 trillion in budget savings.
  • That committee could find savings from an overhaul of the tax code and restructuring benefit programs like Medicare — the politically risky decisions that lawmakers have not been able to agree on so far.
  • The committee would have to complete its work by November 23. Congress would have an up-or-down vote, with no modifications, on the committee’s recommendations by December 23.
  • If the committee cannot agree on at least US$1.2 trillion in savings, or Congress rejects its findings, automatic spending cuts totaling that amount would kick in starting in 2013.
  • Those cuts would fall equally on domestic and military programs. Medicare would face automatic cuts as well, but Social Security, Medicaid, federal employee pay, and benefits for veterans and the poor would be exempt.
  • The plan also calls for both the House and the Senate to vote on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution by the end of the year. It is not likely to receive the two-thirds vote in each chamber needed for passage, but its inclusion will make it easier for conservatives to back the overall deal.

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The US Senate will be debating H. Con. Res. 34, the House proposed 2012 budget that will extend the pay freeze out to 5 years and have all feds paying an additional 6.2% towards their pensions (that equates to more than a $2,500.00 annual cut in take home pay for the average GL-7).  H. Con. Res. 34 also calls for a 10% reduction in force for non-defense agencies

Click here to download a file to use as a template for a letter to your Senators.

Fill in your information in place of the red text, Fax it, email it on your Senator's website, and use it as a phone script when you call in to the Senate switchboard.  The switchboard number is (202) 224-3121.
In Unity!

Michael Meserve
National Legislative Coordinator
Council of Prison Locals

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With the current (and 6th) Continuing Resolution only providing funding for federal government operations through April 8th and budget negotiations between the Senate and House leadership breaking down, a potential government shutdown looms on the horizon.

Below is an article from the National Journal on the shutdown threat.

I've also attached a PDF copy of the AFGE 2011 Government Shutdown Guide. This is a good resource to distribute to your membership; it answers a lot of questions about the dynamics of a shutdown, what aspects of it are negotiable, and what federal law says on the subject.

Shutdown Madness Coming to a Head

With no cosmetic fixes left, it will require painful compromises on either side to avoid government shutdown.

by Major Garrett
Saturday, March 26, 2011 | 10:14 a.m.

The 2011 budget stalemate is about to enter a new and politically perilous stage. While a shutdown of some duration isn't certain, time is running out, positions are hardening and the recent bipartisan willingness to indulge in face-saving gestures is entirely gone.

A week of negotiations involving the White House, Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have failed to narrow differences in spending cuts and policy differences. House Republicans still stand by $51 billion in cuts from the 2010 budget and demand that serve as the beginning point for negotiations — meaning anything less than it in terms of cuts or policy riders represents a GOP

The White House and Senate Democrats oppose using the full GOP continuing resolution (CR) as a benchmark because it can't pass the Senate and, even if it did, would die under a veto that House Republicans couldn't override (they needed House Democratic votes, after all, to pass the last three-week stop-gap bill).

It's hard to know, precisely, the magnitude of spending cuts coming from Democrats. White House and Senate Democrats say they have offered up to $20 billion, while Republicans say all they've offered is about$7 billion in cuts (It may be a difference in policy accounting or GOP low-balling the Democrats). In either case, House Republicans consider both numbers insufficient.

The ill-will boiled to the surface on Friday, as House Republicans issued coordinated statements seeking to portray Democrats as unwilling to cut spending and lacking a serious plan to resolve the impasse.

"Washington Democrats continue to downplay the severity of their budget mess," Boehner said in a statement, referring to the Democrats' inability to pass a budget in the 111th Congress. "We weren’t sent here to negotiate with ourselves. Many questions remain, starting with: when it comes to cutting spending and keeping the government running, where are Washington Democrats? If they have a plan, what is it?"

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy amplified Boehner, alleging Democrats are spoiling for a shutdown showdown.

"It’s irresponsible for Democrats on the Hill and in the White House to continue pushing for the status quo of more spending while playing political games intended to shut down the government," McCarthy said in a statement.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., responded, also in a statement, that Boehner is a hostage to Tea Party-backed House Republicans who are unwilling to compromise.

"The House Republican leadership is back to agonizing over whether to give in to right-wing demands that they abandon any compromise on their extreme cuts," Schumer said. "The Speaker knows that when it comes to avoiding a shutdown, his problem is with the Tea Party, not Democrats. Instead of lashing out at Democrats in a kneejerk way, we hope House Republicans will finally stand up to the Tea Party and resume the negotiations that had seemed so full of promise."

Senior House GOP aides sniffed that Schumer "is not directly involved in the CR negotiations" and that all questions about the actual state of budget negotiations should be referred to Reid. It's never a good sign when staff fights break out over who is or isn't in a room where negotiations are stalled or breaking down. Reid did not issue a statement characterizing the talks.

Amidst all the posturing, pressure is building on Boehner to press forpolicy riders passed during original consideration of the full continuing resolution but left out of the stop-gap bills accepted by Senate Democrats and the White House. House Republicans know they won't be able to use these budget negotiations to defund the 2010 health care law or block creation of new financial regulatory reform bureaucracies. But rank-and-file House Republicans want some policy victories and are looking at comparatively easy ones to be included in
the final package — among them blocking movement of suspected terrorists from Guantanamo Bay to the U.S. for trial or tightening access to abortion in the District of Columbia.

But Senate Democrats and the White House are reluctant to move on House GOP policy riders and want to keep the eventual budget deal as "clean" (meaning devoid of policy riders) as possible.

If no deal is struck by Thursday, a shutdown or another CR is the only way out. House Republicans will not consider a bill that resolves the 2011 budget on an expedited basis — meaning it will require being available for three days before House action. A short-term measure could keep negotiations alive but no moves have been taken to write one and even if they were, House Republican say, they would have to include some policy riders — adding another layer of uncertainty.

There is less than one week to go and the differences on dollars and policy appear as pronounced as ever. And if both sides aren't moving a bill by April Fool's day, well ... the voters will decide who the budget fools really are.

AFGE 2011 Government Shutdown Guide

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The below link is an issue paper to send to your Senate offices in opposition to the bill introduced last week by Senator Richard Burr (R-NC).

S. 644 - A bill to amend subchapter II of chapter 84 of title 5,
United States Code, to prohibit coverage for annuity purposes for any individual hired as a Federal employee after 2012 (the text of the bill has not yet been released by the GPO, and is not up on yet).

The bill will change federal law to eliminate the pension portion of the Federal Retirement System; in other words, federal employees hired after 2012 would only have TSP for their retirement, nothing more.
Senator Burr, and his 12 co-sponsors, believe that this will save money and help reduce the national debt.

As it is, The Bureau of Prisons is has a hard enough time hiring and retaining qualified staff; removing the pensions from the retirement program of future federal employees would certainly not make the prospect a career in the BOP more attractive to potential employees.
The current attempts to reduce the pay and benefits of civil servants of the will likely result in a catastrophic 'talent drain' within the federal workforce.

So far, the co-sponsors of S.644 are:

Saxby Chambliss [R-GA]
Thomas Coburn [R-OK]
John Cornyn [R-TX]
John Ensign [R-NV]
James Inhofe [R-OK]
Ron Johnson [R-WI]
Jon Kyl [R-AZ]
Mike Lee [R-UT]
John McCain [R-AZ]
Jefferson Sessions [R-AL]
John Thune [R-SD]
Patrick Toomey [R-PA]

Please Fax this paper to your Senators, e-mail it to their staff
members, copy and paste the text content into the web-contact portionof the Senator's website, and use it as a script for phone calls to the Senate offices.

Opposed Bill

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Aloha, Brothers and Sisters:

I'm asking for your help again in focus our attention on the Senators who are on the Appropriations Committee; we're making another attempt to get anomaly language in the next Continuing Resolution or in any Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Bill out of the Senate.

Anomaly language is when they insert specific language into a funding bill that spells out what will or will not be done with the money, or add and subtract specific funding levels for specific parts of an agency's budget.

I'm sending you this email because you have a Senator from your state that is involved in our appropriations. I've attached a letter that you can use to draw the attention of your Senator to the damage that is being suffered by the BOP under the current budget freeze and a long string of Continuing Resolutions. Please, plug your Local's info into the letter; type the appropriate information over the red text, then save, print, and Fax. After Faxing the letter, call the office and ask to talk to a staff member who deals with either legislative, labor or justice issues, then talk to them about our funding using the
attached letter as a script. You can also copy and paste the text into the web-form used to contact your Senator on their web site, so please do that, too.

The Appropriation Committee Members we're focusing on are on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies; they are:

Democratic Subcommittee Members

* Senator Barbara Mikulski (Chairman) (MD)
* Senator Daniel Inouye (HI)
* Senator Patrick Leahy (VT)
* Senator Herb Kohl (WI)
* Senator Dianne Feinstein (CA)
* Senator Jack Reed (RI)
* Senator Frank Lautenberg (NJ)
* Senator Ben Nelson (NE)
* Senator Mark Pryor (AR)
* Senator Sherrod Brown (OH)

Republican Subcommittee Members

* Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (Ranking) (TX)

* Senator Richard Shelby (AL)
* Senator Mitch McConnell (KY)
* Senator Lamar Alexander (TN)
* Senator Lisa Murkowski (AK)
* Senator Ron Johnson (WI)
* Senator Susan Collins (ME)
* Senator Lindsey Graham (SC)

Please e-mail, Fax and call the Senators above and let them know how important it is for them to support the staff Bureau of Prisons facilities in their states. If you have any questions, or need any help with this, don't hesitate to contact me.

Thank you for your help

Anomaly Language for the Federal Bureau Of Prisons

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