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TSP Funds Rebound in July, Flight Training for Vets, and More

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The funds in the federal government’s 401(k)-style retirement savings program rebounded last month, following a lackluster June in which most were stagnant.

The Thrift Savings Plan’s common stocks (C) fund grew 3.72 percent in July. Since January, the fund has increased 6.45 percent.

International stocks in the I Fund grew by 2.45 percent last month, although it remained 0.04 percent in the red for 2018. And the S Fund’s small- and mid-size businesses increased 1.64 percent in July, bringing the fund's growth since the beginning of the year up to 7.91 percent.

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The fixed income bonds in the F Fund remained mostly flat in July, growing by only 0.04 percent. That reduces the portfolio’s losses in 2018 to 1.52 percent. The G Fund, made up of government securities, grew by 0.25 percent last month, bringing its growth since January to 1.62 percent.

The lifecycle (L) funds, which shift investments to more stable portfolios as participants get closer to retirement, all gained value in July. The L Income Fund, for people who have already begun withdrawing annuities, increased 0.79 percent; L 2020, 1.12 percent; L 2030, 1.91 percent; L 2040, 2.21 percent; and L 2050, 2.48 percent.

In 2018, the L Income Fund has grown 2.12 percent; L 2020, 2.47 percent; L 2030, 3.39 percent; L 2040, 3.74 percent; and L 2050, 4.06 percent.

On Capitol Hill, Sens. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., and John Hoeven, R-N.D., introduced legislation Wednesday that would expand job training opportunities for veterans to become pilots after leaving the armed forces.

The American Aviator Act establishes a pilot program for the Federal Aviation Administration to provide grants to support flight training for veterans who are not already military pilots. Veterans who participate in the program would receive training needed to become commercial pilots and earn relevant certifications.

“America’s veterans have bravely served our nation and we have a shared responsibility to make sure their service and sacrifice is honored,” Baldwin said in a statement. “Our veterans have also earned every opportunity to be productive and successful after completing their military service. This legislation increases opportunities for veterans looking to pursue flight training and careers as commercial airline pilots.”

In the House, a bipartisan pair of lawmakers introduced a bill that would ensure that federal workers are not penalized for marijuana use in states where there are legal ways to do so.

The Fairness in Federal Drug Testing Under State Laws Act (H.R. 6589), introduced by Reps. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., and Drew Ferguson, R-Ga., would prohibit agencies from using a failed drug test as the sole reason to deny or terminate employment for a civil service job. But it would exempt positions requiring a top secret security clearance and tests that result from circumstances like suspected impairment at work.

An aide for Crist said the lawmaker was inspired by the large number of veterans in his district who work for the federal government. A growing number of veterans use marijuana products to treat a medical condition.

Erich Wagner is a staff correspondent covering pay, benefits and other federal workforce issues. He joined Government Executive in the spring of 2017 after extensive experience writing about state and local issues in Maryland and Virginia, most recently as editor-in-chief of the Alexandria Times. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.

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