Members of Congress Speak Out Against Proposed Cuts

Aug 11, 2017

congressMore members of Congress are coming forward and voicing their concerns about proposed cuts in the recent FY2018 budget proposals. In these proposed cuts are significant changes to the federal retirement system for current and future employees and retirees.

Ten House Republicans have appealed to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman.

“No one needs to remind us of the deficit and debt problem our nation faces, but federal employees are an easy political target. Therefore, we respectfully request they reject any further legislative changes to the federal employee retirement system at this time,” the 10 members wrote in a July 26 letter.

At the same time, 18 Senators, most of them Democrats, also wrote to their leadership. “These proposed cuts, if enacted, would significantly harm the retirement plans that our federal employees have made over the course of decades in public service. In addition, they would further hamper the federal government’s ability to recruit and retain the best and brightest talent, particularly when we are concerned about brain drain in critical areas of our civilian workforce,” the senators wrote in a July 26 letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

A similar letter was written in June, but this time, the lawmakers reference several FY2018 budget proposals that suggest a variety of changes to the federal retirement system for current and future employees.

The House Budget Committee’s 2018 request includes instructions for budget reconciliation, which tasks the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to make changes to the federal retirement system. The proposals call for higher contributions to federal pensions and the removal of Supplemental Social Security payments to employees who retire before age 62.

“This would achieve significant savings while recognizing the need for new federal employees to transition to a defined contribution retirement system. The clear majority of private sector employees participate in defined contribution retirement plans. These plans put the ownership, flexibility, and portfolio risk on the employee as opposed to the employer. Similarly, federal employees would have more control over their own retirement security under this option,” the House budget proposal said.

The House Budget Committee budget calls for similar yet different recommendations than President Trump’s. Trump proposed $4.1 billion in federal retirement cuts next year, with a total of $150 billion over 10 years. This is higher than the House Budget Committee’s recommendations.

Both the Trump administration and many House Republicans, however, see these changes to bring the federal retirement package in line with private sector. Close to 100 Democrats have voiced their opposition to these proposals in a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

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