BOWIE, MD – Today, Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05) delivered remarks in Bowie, Maryland at the National Active and Retired Federal Employees (NARFE) Maryland Federal 2022 Mini-Conference. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Thank you for inviting me to join you today. I’m always glad to be here with NARFE leaders from across our state who represent our hard-working and talented federal employees. In years past, when Republicans controlled the Congress or when the former President was in office, these meetings would often focus on how to fight back against attacks on federal workers and protect their pay and benefits.
“While we will always continue the fight to defend pay and benefits, we can breathe easier this year because we now have a Congress and an Administration that are working together to ensure that our federal workers receive the pay, benefits, and gratitude they deserve. I was proud to work with my colleagues and with the Biden-Harris Administration last year to secure a 2.7% pay raise for all civilian federal employees, which was at parity with military personnel. I strongly support President Biden’s request for Congress to provide all federal employees with a 4.6% raise in 2023. I’ve already written to Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro on the Appropriations Committee and made it clear that I’m going to be pushing for that increase. At the same time, there is a renewed focus on how to safeguard and strengthen the retirement benefits for active and retired federal workers.
“Instead of strategizing how to mitigate the impact of Republican cuts, Democrats are brainstorming how to ensure that retirement benefits can sustain those who have given their careers patriotically to federal service so they can be secure in their golden years. Together, we are doing the work of safeguarding the benefits of those under C.S.R.S., F.E.R.S., and the rest of the federal retirement system. I want to thank you for all of your help and strong support throughout this process. Just as I want to thank you for your efforts during our work to pass Postal Reform legislation earlier this year, which helped improve the law as it was drafted and will strengthen pay and benefits for postal employees.
“Right now, our nation is facing a host of challenges, including the very real and serious problem of inflation. Democrats are working tirelessly to get inflation under control and bring costs down for businesses, workers, and families. The war in Ukraine, disruptions to global supply chains from the Omicron wave of COVID-19, lockdowns in China, and the climate crisis have all led to higher prices at the gas pump, the supermarket, and across our economy. Federal employees and their families are feeling the impacts of inflation, and I know that retirees are being particularly affected. That’s why I’m not going to rest until we get inflation under control and make it easier for Americans to afford gas, groceries, and everything else. One of the ways I believe we can do that is by reducing our reliance on unreliable countries like Russia and China. That’s why I’ve been promoting the ‘Make It In America’ plan for jobs and opportunity.
“We enacted the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law last year, which was a major component of the Make It In America plan, and the House and Senate are now negotiating a final version of a Bipartisan Competitiveness bill as well, which also draws heavily from our plan. Both will help bring prices down by ensuring that more of the critical products and components our economy needs are produced right here in America by American workers. That’s more of a long-term solution, and House Democrats are continuing to look for additional ways to help in the near term as well.
“At the same time, we are going to keep taking strong measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 and make lifesaving vaccines and treatments available to all who need them. I’m proud of our successful efforts in Maryland to vaccinate so many people and bring this pandemic closer to an end.
“Friends – I’ve been proud to stand with you through the pandemic and over the years and to work with you to promote the issues that we care about together: better pay and benefits, safer work conditions, more recognition for the contributions our federal employees make to our country. The number one way to make sure that Congress is on the right side of these issues is for federal employees and retirees to make their voices heard at the ballot box.
“We’re in an election year, and a pivotal one at that. At the state and federal level, there are important races underway in Maryland in 2022 that will impact policymaking with regard to the federal workforce, retirees, and the availability of economic opportunities generally. I urge you to make sure that all of your members vote. No one should take for granted their right to have a voice in our democracy, particularly at a time when there are efforts underway in other states – Republican-led states – to limit ballot access and undermine that right. So, I thank you for being engaged and for all the work you continue to do on behalf of federal employees and retirees in Maryland. I’m proud to represent so many of them in Congress, and look forward to continuing to work closely with NARFE And with all of you to stand by the men and women of our federal workforce in the months and years ahead. Thank you.”