NARFE NewsWatch
Nov. 22, 2011

Deficit-reduction panel concedes defeat
Government Executive
The bipartisan congressional committee tasked with finding at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction announced on Nov. 21 it cannot reach agreement by the Nov. 23 deadline, a stark if not unexpected admission that its efforts have ended in failure. The declaration came late Nov. 21 in a written statement from the 12-member Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction despite last-second discussions in closed-door meetings.More

Debt panel a super failure? It was always lose-lose for federal workforce
The Washington Post
The supercommittee presented the federal workforce with a lose-lose situation. Had members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction agreed on ways to slash the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion over 10 years, any deal could have resulted in across-the-board cuts to federal employees — things such as a hit to retirement benefits or an extended pay freeze. More

Postal Service to resume pension payments
Federal Times
The U.S. Postal Service will pay more than $1 billion into the Federal Employees Retirement System in December and resume biweekly contributions into the pension program, which it had stopped paying earlier this year, USPS Chief Financial Officer Joseph Corbett said in a recent conference call with reporters. In June, the struggling mail carrier suspended those contributions — worth about $115 million every two weeks — on the grounds that it had a $7 billion surplus in FERS. That step was opposed by the Office of Personnel Management.More

Bill giving gay federal workers full benefits reintroduced
The Washington Post
The two senators who led the fight to repeal the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy are once again trying to extend full domestic benefits to the partners of gay federal employees. As they have during the last two congressional sessions, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, I-Conn., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, recently reintroduced their Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act, noting that approving the bill would put the federal government on a par with Fortune 500 corporations that already extend full benefits to the same-sex partners of gay employees.More

Why don't older Americans buy long-term care insurance?
"You need long-term care insurance." It's a statement financial advisers have been telling many of their clients for years now. And it's pretty clear why, as the costs to pay for long-term care on your own can be staggering: The average assisted-living facility charges $39,516 per year and the average nursing home $83,585 per year for a private room, according to the MetLife Mature Market Institute — and these costs often aren't covered by Medicare.More

Thanksgiving: How to stick to healthy portion sizes
The feelings of joy and gratitude during Thanksgiving are often followed by guilt and discomfort from overeating during the holiday's festivities — but it doesn't have to be that way. This year, size up your portions and make smart selections at the Thanksgiving dinner table by using a visual serving size comparison guide. This information, created by wellness dietitians at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, makes figuring out portion sizes easy by comparing them to everyday objects.More

Family caregiving needs likely to soar
U.S. News & World Report
Whether you are an older American or have parents or family members who are getting on in years, you need to be aware that the burdens of long-term caregiving will increasingly fall more heavily on families and friends. The financial and demographic forces behind this trend are so powerful that the shift to increased self-reliance is unavoidable.More

Keywords that all job hunters need to know
The Kansas City Star
Anyone looking for a job needs to pay attention to this list: HTML5, MongoDB, iOS, Android, mobile app, Puppet, Hadoop, jQuery, PaaS and social media. Get a little nervous if you have scant idea what they mean. Since the second quarter of 2010, those are the 10 fastest-growing keywords found in job postings, according to a study by More

Geographic differences in retirement readiness
U.S. News & World Report
How prepared you are for retirement may depend, in part, on where you live. Two recent studies have found that people who reside in certain locations are significantly more prepared for retirement than those in others. More

$99 rates and other Thanksgiving hotel deals
USA Today
Trying to avoid staying overnight with relatives on Thanksgiving night? A number of hotels across the U.S. are ready to accommodate, so it's worth shopping for discounts or value-added packages.More

5 websites to search before Black Friday
The Associated Press via The Boston Globe
As Black Friday and its online sibling Cyber Monday approach, holiday shoppers are getting ready. The preparation should include more than just mapping out a strategy about which door-buster deals to chase. Some research ahead of time can result in more confident gift giving. Here are five websites that can help fuel that confidence by providing information on what products to buy and when to buy them, and offer assurance you are not missing a deal.More

What are the 'rating regions' referred to in FEDVIP?
Question: I am considering enrolling in dental and/or vision coverage under the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program. The information refers to "rating regions." What does this mean?More

NARFE pledges to continue to fight to defend feds against 'irresponsible plans'
NARFE President Joseph A. Beaudoin said the Association shares the nation's disappointment in the failure of the deficit-cutting congressional supercommittee to reach a bipartisan agreement. "But no deal is better than a bad deal that could have unjustly singled out federal workers and retirees, who already have contributed to deficit reduction," Beaudoin said. "However, under the sequestration process that was created in the event the supercommittee did not succeed, many of the services that Americans depend on will undergo devastating cuts." Beaudoin pledged that "as decisions continue to be made about the future of these services and the federal workers who deliver them to the nation, NARFE and our hundreds of thousands of supporters will continue to inform the debate and defend against irresponsible plans that would unfairly target federal workers and retirees and hinder our ability to protect America's heartbeat." More