House Subcommittee Approves Measures to Benefit Federal Employees

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Wednesday, March 24, 2010 at 10 a.m. in room 2154 of the Rayburn House Office Building, the Subcommittee on held a business meeting and approved several priority pieces of legislation.  

Introduced by Subcommittee Chairman Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA), H.R. 4489 will strengthen federal oversight of the prescription drug benefits available to federal employees through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP).  Specifically, the FEHBP Prescription Drug Integrity, Transparency, and Cost Savings Act will provide the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) greater contract authority over Pharmacy Benefit Managers to better ensure that federal workers and retirees, as well as taxpayers, are receiving the best benefits at the best price.

In addition, H.R. 4865, the Federal Employees and Uniformed Services Retirement Equity Act of 2010, introduced by Chairman Lynch and Subcommittee Ranking Member Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), will allow federal and postal employees, as well as members of the armed forces, to deposit unused annual  leave into their Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) accounts.  The legislation will allow the TSP to remain in line with the offerings currently available to private-sector workers participating in 401(k) plans.

Furthermore, H.R. 1722, the Telework Improvements Act of 2009, introduced by Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD), will serve to improve the effectiveness of telework programs across the federal government.  In response to agency and employee concerns regarding the current underutilization of telework, H.R. 1722 will require each agency to designate a Telework Managing Officer and implement a series of agency reporting requirements in order to enhance the availability of information regarding the status of individual agency telework programs. 

Finally, H.R. 3913, the Major General David F. Wherley, Jr. District of Columbia National Guard Retention and College Access Act, introduced by Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), will significantly broaden the educational opportunities available to members of the National Guard of the District of Columbia by authorizing additional grant funding for education assistance.  Per a Manager’s Amendment offered by Chairman Lynch and approved by the Subcommittee, D.C. National Guard members will receive up to $6,000 in education assistance per year.

“By approving H.R. 4489, the FEHBP Prescription Drug Integrity, Transparency, and Cost Savings Act, I’m pleased that the Subcommittee has taken the first step towards ensuring greater transparency and accountability in FEHBP contracting for the benefit of our hardworking federal and postal employees, and for federal taxpayers at large,” said Chairman Stephen F. Lynch.  “I’m also pleased by the Subcommittee’s action on H.R. 4865, H.R. 1722, and H.R. 3913, all of which represent common sense solutions to enhancing the federal government’s workforce recruitment and retention efforts, as well as that of the D.C. National Guard.” 

H.R. 4489, H.R. 4865, H.R. 1722, and H.R. 3913 have now been referred to the full Committee on Oversight & Government Reform for further consideration.