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A Penny Saved

Beginning in April, House lawmakers and their staffs will be eligible to divert a portion of their salaries to medical savings accounts.

The new benefit, part of the Federal Flexible Spending Accounts Program, will allow employees to put pretax dollars into special accounts that can be used to pay for both medical and nonmedical services.

[IMGCAP(1)] “Flexible spending accounts provide an excellent way for all House employees to reduce their costs for out-of-pocket health care costs, dependent care costs, and better stretch their hard earned dollars,” House Administration Chairman Bob Ney (R-Ohio) wrote in a Jan. 27 “Dear Colleague” letter.

In coming weeks, the House Chief Administrative Officer’s Office of Human Resources will issue additional information on the program to lawmakers’ offices, as well as hold briefings on the program for staffers.

Open enrollment for the program is expected to begin in mid-February.

Making Waves. The House Oceans Caucus has added Reps. Wayne Gilchrest (R-Md.), Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) and Jim Saxton (R-N.J.) to its leadership.

With the retirement of Rep. Jim Greenwood (R-Pa.) at the end of the 108th Congress, the remaining co-chairmen, Reps. Tom Allen (D-Maine), Sam Farr (D-Calif.) and Curt Weldon (R-Pa.), decided to both fill the vacancy and increase the number of co-chairmen. With expanded leadership, the caucus hopes to garner more attention for critical oceans issues.

— Jennifer Yachnin and Amanda Arcuri

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