Representative Diane Black, chair of the House Budget Committee, has released a proposed budget plan for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018. As of today, the House Budget Committee is scheduled to consider and vote on the plan tomorrow. Several Republican members have shared concerns with the budget plan in advance of committee consideration, and it is not known at this time whether or not there will be enough support from legislators for the budget to be voted on, and to pass on the House floor.
The proposed blueprint is for a budget resolution for FY 2018, and it outlines general spending plans that include over $200 billion in proposed cuts to federal programs, and may be used to pass tax reform legislation later this year. The Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which controls legislation over federal employees pay and benefits, would be tasked with cutting $32 billion from federal employee retirement benefits.
Specifically, this budget plan recommends that federal employees make greater contributions to their defined benefit plans, following a recommendation from the 2010 National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility, which recommended a six percent increase. It also seeks to end the “FERS Supplement,” which pays the equivalent of Social Security for those who rightfully retire before age 62. There is also language that proposes that the federal workforce transition from a defined benefit pension to a defined contribution pension, suggesting that only Social Security and the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) would provide retirement income for federal employees. This budget would instruct the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that has jurisdiction over federal employee pay and benefits, to cut $32 billion over ten years to these programs, but does not include further details. Separate legislation would still be required to effect these changes to federal employee retirement benefits. NTEU has expressed its opposition to these proposals in the past, and sent a letter today to the Committee reiterating our objections.
For FY 2018, this budget plan overhauls the spending caps for domestic and defense agencies established under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, which would require separate legislation to achieve. Defense programs would see significant increases in funding under this budget, while entitlement programs (including Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid) would undergo major reforms. Overall, this budget plan would reduce the deficit during the next 10 years by $6.5 trillion.
The House Budget Committee is scheduled to mark up its resolution tomorrow. I will keep you informed on further developments, and as details become available.
To find out more and take action, visit the NTEU Legislative Action Center.