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Press Release Published: Mar 12, 2014

Oversight Committee Passes Bipartisan Bills to Improve Federal Worker Savings, Whistleblower Protections

WASHINGTON – Today, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee passed bipartisan measures to modify the savings program for federal workers contributing toward retirement and to improve whistleblower protections.

The Committee adopted H.R. 4193, the Smart Savings Act, introduced by Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., which modifies the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) for federal workers from a default government security fund to an age-appropriate asset allocation fund, known as L Funds.

“The Smart Savings Act will ensure that workers who are planning ahead for retirement are investing in an account that works for them at every stage of their career,” Chairman Issa said. “Currently, the default fund is comprised of government securities, which historically provide very low returns. The mix of offerings in an L Fund is designed to give higher returns, while decreasing risk as individuals near retirement. According to the TSP, making L Funds the default investment can help workers better prepare for retirement than investment in the G Fund over the course of their career.”

“By changing the Thrift Savings Plan default investment option for new federal employees to the Lifecycle fund, the Smart Savings Act will enable workers to take full advantage of a diversified fund designed to yield higher returns,”  Ranking Member Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said. “This commonsense change will help our dedicated federal employees save more effectively for retirement.”

The Committee also passed H.R. 4197, the All Circuit Review Extension Act, introduced by Ranking Member Cummings, to extend a pilot program by the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act. The pilot program allows federal whistleblower appeals to be made outside of the Federal Circuit and was set to expire in November 2014. The change will extend the program for three additional years.

“This bill extends an important provision enacted in the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act that allows whistleblowers to file appeals where they live rather than being limited to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals,” Ranking Member Cummings said. “Without this legislation, this critical protection for whistleblowers would expire at the end of this year and whistleblowers could only appeal to a Court with an abysmal track record in whistleblower cases.”

“Whistleblowers are a critical asset for congressional oversight, and they often risk retaliation in order to help root out waste, fraud and abuse in the federal government,” Chairman Issa said. “The pilot program established by the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act gives whistleblowers an opportunity to appeal their cases outside of the Federal Circuit. However, only three appeals have been heard outside of the Federal Circuit and the program expires soon. This bill will extend the pilot program for three additional years, giving us more time to gauge the impact of an ‘all circuit’ review.”

You can see a complete list of the bills passed in today’s markup here.