The Month in Media
In January, several news outlets covered NTEU’s position on inadequate funding of the Internal Revenue Service, and the union’s legislative priorities for 2014, which include continued efforts on lowering the contractor salary cap and securing an adequate pay raise for 2015.
Below are excerpts of news stories that were published last month. Generally, the opening paragraph of each story is included as well as those paragraphs that feature NTEU's position on the issue. In many cases, links to the complete story are available by visiting NTEU in the News.
Long lines to process passengers and commercial traffic at U.S. ports of entry? Blame it on inadequate funding of Customs and Border Protection, President Kelley says in a letter to the editor
Federal employee pay and benefits top NTEU's legislative agenda for 2014. Read the clips
What did President Kelley want to hear in President Obama's state of the union address? Find out in the clips
A new commissioner is confirmed to lead the Internal Revenue Service at a time when the agency faces severe budget and staffing cuts. Read the clips
When the Internal Revenue Service's budget gets cut, taxpayer services suffer, the National Taxpayer Advocate tells Congress in a new report. Read the clips
There's more bad news for the IRS in the omnibus spending bill. NTEU warns of the implications of continued underfunding of the Internal Revenue Service. Read the clips
President Kelley praises Rep. Jim Moran's record on NTEU issues as the 23-year House veteran prepares to retire. Read the clips
Making entry to the U.S. as quick as possible (Published in the Washington Post)
Regarding Carl Heckel’s Jan. 18 letter, “Some welcome to America”:
For some time, my union, which represents CBP employees, has been strongly encouraging Congress to provide additional funding for personnel, equipment, training and a range of critical needs at the nation’s entry points.
CBP officers work diligently to process passengers and commercial traffic, even as they help protect our nation. A large number greet and process non-English speakers in their native language as a means of speeding up the entry process, as a welcoming gesture and as a sign of respect. It does a disservice to these dedicated employees to blame them for backups. They are working with the tools and staffing levels Congress provided.
Colleen M. Kelley
NTEU National President
Jan. 28, 2014
Happy New Year: Transit Subsidy Slashed By Congressional Inaction (Ashburn.Patch.com)
Commuters using transit services such as Metro trains and buses, the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) trains, or the Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) trains could be impacted by the change if they spend more than $130 a month on commuting costs.
Many of those are federal workers, as the president of the National Treasury Employees Union noted in a letter sent to senators. The union's president, Colleen M. Kelley, wrote that “many of these employees, already subject to a three-year pay freeze, unpaid furlough days and higher retirement contributions, are struggling in the current economic climate, and a reduction in these benefits would impose an additional financial burden on them.”
Jan. 1, 2014
Federal workers’ tough 2013 is behind them, but they aren’t out of the fiscal woods yet (Washington Post)
President Obama’s signature on a new two-year budget deal brings welcomed stability and a bit of fiscal relief for the federal government, but tough leadership challenges lie ahead as agencies and their employees deal with continued austerity and deteriorating worker morale in 2014.
National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen M. Kelley said many agencies are “still in dire straits when it comes to adequate funding,” despite the new budget agreement. She noted that the Internal Revenue Service has seen its budget reduced by about $1 billion since 2010.
Jan. 2, 2013
Varied views on new contractor-pay cap (Washington Post)
Federal worker unions have applauded a new limit on pay for government contractors, but one industry group has warned that the “arbitrary” cap will cause problems for those who do business with federal agencies.
The National Treasury Employees Union has also pressed for a contractor-salary cap in recent years, and the group said its legislative priorities for 2014 will include continued efforts on that front.
Jan. 3, 2014
Federal employee unions lay out 2014 priorities (Washington Post)
NTEU said it will work to ensure another annual pay bump in 2015, specifically one that would “get the federal pay raise back on track” after more than three years without an automatic increase.
NTEU, which also promised to work more on the salary cap as well this year, said it will call for an “effective review” of consulting work to determine whether some contracts are unnecessary. “We believe that money should be used for hiring additional employees,” said Colleen M. Kelley, the union’s president.
Jan. 6, 2014
With budget deal done, what to expect from Congress in 2014 (CyberFEDS)
Federal retiree benefits may again be debated.
NTEU's Kelley said that there are still too many "stand alone pieces of legislation" that would affect federal retirement benefits that didn't get included in the budget agreement, but that she is "hopeful" Congress will stop targeting federal retirement -- at least temporarily.
Jan. 7, 2014
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|President's State of the Union Address
Feds have high hopes, low expectations for Obama’s State of the Union address (Washington Post)
When President Obama delivers his State of the Union address Tuesday night, many federal employees will be listening to what the boss-in-chief has to say about them.
National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen M. Kelley: “We would like him to say: ‘I will be proposing a 3.3 percent pay increase for federal workers.’ ”
Jan. 27, 2014
Nation eagerly awaits Obama’s State of the Union address (National Monitor)
Obama has pledged to work for the middle-class and fight for a living wage for workers. National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen M. Kelley wants Obama to address this issue in the State of the Union address. Kelley said, “We would like him [Obama] to say: ‘I will be proposing a 3.3 percent pay increase for federal workers.’ ”
Jan. 28, 2014
Federal unions want Obama to use his executive power to act on their wish list (Washington Post)
Federal labor leaders perked up during Tuesday’s State of the Union address when President Obama pledged to make 2014 “a year of action.”
Colleen M. Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, wants Obama to propose a 3.3 percent pay raise for federal workers. The current Congress would probably block that. Following a three-year freeze on their basic pay rates, Kelley said it is “time to start getting federal pay back on track.”
Jan. 31, 2014
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|IRS National Taxpayer Advocate Report
IRS watchdog says customer service to taxpayers is suffering (Washington Post)
Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union and a former IRS employee, called for more funding from Congress.
“All the numbers that should be going up—taxpayers helped, calls answered, tax issues resolved, training completed—are going down while all the numbers that should be decreasing are rising—identity theft cases, telephone wait times, delays in answering letters,” Kelley said in a statement.
Jan. 9, 2014
IRS lagging badly on customer service, report says (USA Today)
The National Treasury Employees Union said the report highlights the need to restore funding to the IRS.
"All the numbers that should be going up — taxpayers helped, calls answered, tax issues resolved, training completed — are going down,'' NTEU President Colleen M. Kelley said in a statement.
Jan. 9, 2014
New report supports IRS understaffing claims (Federal Daily News)
The National Treasury Employees Union said a just-released report provides new evidence that funding cuts and understaffing are seriously hindering the Internal Revenue Service from performing its mission.
“All the numbers that should be going up—taxpayers helped, calls answered, tax issues resolved, training completed—are going down," said NTEU President Colleen M. Kelley, "while all the numbers that should be decreasing are rising—identity theft cases, telephone wait times, delays in answering letters.”
Jan. 10, 2014
Report: Budget, training cuts put IRS 'at risk' (Federal News Radio)
Meanwhile, phone waiting times are approaching 20 minutes "for those lucky enough to get through," the report stated. A decade ago, the average wait time was less than three minutes, according to the National Treasury Employees Union.
"All the numbers that should be going up — taxpayers helped, calls answered, tax issues resolved, training completed — are going down, while all the numbers that should be decreasing are rising — identity theft cases, telephone wait times, delays in answering letters," NTEU President Colleen Kelley said in a statement.
Jan. 13, 2014
|Spending Bill's Impact on IRS
Union President Warns of Continued IRS Underfunding (Accounting Today)
The head of the union representing Internal Revenue Service employees is warning about persistent underfunding of the Internal Revenue Service in the omnibus spending bill unveiled yesterday by congressional negotiators.
“Continued underfunding of the IRS means refunds will be delayed, taxpayers will sit on hold and tax help will be available to fewer and fewer Americans,” said NTEU president Colleen M. Kelley in a statement. “While the appropriations bill is a nominal improvement over another full year Continuing Resolution at current levels, it is woefully inadequate to allow agencies to deliver the critical services taxpayers expect and deserve. Sequestration must end for the good of the nation.”
Jan. 14, 2014
How the spending bill affects the federal workforce (Federal News Radio)
Colleen Kelley, the president of the National Treasury Employees Union, blasted the IRS funding levels.
"In the face of severe budget cuts and reduced personnel in recent years, what is needed is a true investment in the IRS, not more of the same," she said in a statement.
Jan. 14, 2014
Union says spending bill undercuts IRS mission (Washington Post)
The comprehensive spending bill lawmakers unveiled Monday does not provide enough funding for the Internal Revenue Service to fulfill its mission, according to the union that represents the agency’s employees.
“Continued underfunding of the IRS means refunds will be delayed, taxpayers will sit on hold and tax help will be available to fewer and fewer Americans,” National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen M. Kelley said in a statement Tuesday.
Jan. 14, 2014
NTEU Chief Colleen Kelley on Spending Bill: ‘True Investment’ in the IRS Needed (Accounting Web)
The head of the union representing IRS employees said on January 14 that the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill House and Senate negotiators unveiled Monday night for the balance of fiscal year 2014 does not do enough to help the underfunded IRS.
“Continued underfunding of the IRS means refunds will be delayed, taxpayers will sit on hold, and tax help will be available to fewer and fewer Americans,” Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), said in a written statement on Tuesday.
Jan. 14, 2014
The Spending Bill’s Biggest Losers (GovExec)
The Internal Revenue Service, for example, retains the majority of the sequestration cuts imposed on the agency in fiscal 2013, bringing its funding below 2009 levels.
“Continued underfunding of the IRS means refunds will be delayed, taxpayers will sit on hold and tax help will be available to fewer and fewer Americans,” said Colleen M. Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, adding that reductions over the last several years have forced the IRS to cut 8,000 employees.
Jan. 15, 2014
Federal Employee Groups Lament Loss of Congressional Advocate (GovExec)
Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., a 23-year House veteran whose work on appropriations benefited federal employees and agency offices in Northern Virginia, announced on Wednesday he will not seek reelection this November.
The National Treasury Employees Union also offered praise for Moran. "He brought to Capitol Hill a deep understanding of the value of federal workers and has long been a champion of all those who deliver government services on the front lines," said NTEU President Colleen Kelley. "I thank him for his leadership on behalf of all public servants and wish him well in his retirement."
Jan. 15, 2014