Bill to Improve Thrift Savings Plan Introduced
(This article first appeared in the Sept-Oct 2017 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)
By Legislative & Political Director Judy Beard
The 2017 Congress introduced legislation to improve the Thrift Savings Program (TSP). It addresses shortcomings in the withdrawal rules which have not been changed since 1986. The current rule allows for active postal employees, upon reaching age 59 ½, to make only one withdrawal from their TSP account. Similarly, retirees can only partially withdraw from their TSP a single time. This inflexibility often leads retirees to fully withdraw their money and move it into private investment plans which have pricier maintenance fees.
To address this problem, the TSP Modernization Act of 2017 was introduced in the House and Senate and provides much needed flexibility to retiring postal workers, lifting the current restrictions and allowing them to make multiple, partial post-separation withdrawals from their TSP savings. It would also give TSP contributors the choice of quarterly or annual payments.
The bipartisan authors of the House bill (H.R. 3031), Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD-7) and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC-11), highlight the value of this reform for postal workers. The bill would “encourage participants to keep their TSP accounts to take advantage of low administrative fees,” Cummings said. It would “give TSP participants what they want: greater flexibility to withdraw money from their accounts to address unexpected life events.”
In a climate where bipartisan solutions are often hard to come by, the TSP Modernization Act is a notable exception. The APWU supports the TSP Modernization Act and encourages congressional action on the bill.
Legislative and Political Conference
Rep. John Lewis (D-GA-5) once said, “Sometimes you have to not just dream about what could be – you get out and push and you pull and you preach. And you create a climate and environment to get those in high places, to get men and women of good will in power to act.”
Do you want to learn how you can enact change at the state and local level? Do you want to help elect Congressional, state and local leaders in 2018 who will fight for workers and their families?
Join us Oct. 1, at the APWU Legislative & Political Conference, being held in conjunction with the All-Craft Conference in Las Vegas. This conference will focus on building political, union, and community strength, and its attendees will learn new ways to protect workers’ rights and prepare for the 2018 midterm elections.
A variety of workshops will be offered. The final date to register for the conference is Sept. 15. To view a list of workshops and register, please visit apwu.org/events/legislative-conference.
The Postal Service Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 756) — We support this bill moving through the legislative process. This bill advanced to the Energy and Commerce Committee, as well as the Ways and Means Committee.
TSP Modernization Act of 2017 (S. 873) — Initial Sponsors: Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE). H.R. 3031 — Initial Sponsors: Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD-7) and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC-11)
Raise the Wage Act of 2017 (S. 1462) — Initial Sponsor, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). H.R. 15 — Initial Sponsor, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA-3) — The Raise the Wage Act of 2017 will incrementally raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024 and would index the minimum wage to rise with inflation, making sure low wage workers are not left behind, as they have been in recent decades.
House Budget Resolution for Fiscal Year 2018 (H. Con. Res. 71) — This resolution has disastrous implications for postal and federal employees. It targets hard earned pensions and FERS retirees’ vital annuity supplements. More egregious is the assault on the USPS by calling for the Postal Service to be placed “on budget.” This would make the USPS subject to federal government shutdowns and turn it into a piggy bank for non-postal related government expenses
For a full list visit apwu.org/departments-divisions/legislative- and-political.