The House Budget Committee’s budget provides a blueprint for funding the government. It includes $621.5 billion for discretionary defense programs and $511 for non-defense discretionary spending for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018. These spending levels violate the statutory spending caps in place for FY 2018, as enacted under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, and would require a separate change in law.
In addition, the budget includes reconciliation instructions that direct 11 committees in the House to produce legislation to reduce the deficit by a minimum of $203 billion over ten years. One of the committees given such instructions is the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which handles all federal employee legislation. That committee has been tasked with crafting legislation to produce at least $32 billion in cuts. Such savings could only come from federal employee benefit programs. At last night’s budget mark-up, both Ranking Member John Yarmuth (D-KY) and Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) spoke out against the retirement cuts envisioned for federal employees.
The budget blueprint provides the following high-level suggestions (called “illustrative options”) to House Oversight and Government Reform as a guide in their work:
- Federal employees should make greater contributions to their own retirement plans, referencing a previous Commission’s report that proposed a 50-50 split in the cost between agencies and employees. Such a change would translate into current FERS employees contributing an additional 6% in employee contributions, so a 6% take-home pay cut.
- Ending the FERS retirement supplement, which pays FERS individuals the equivalent of their Social Security benefit until Social Security begins (generally at age 62).
- To transition new federal employees to a defined contribution retirement system, eliminating the FERS defined benefit pension/annuity (meaning just Social Security and TSP).
It is important to note that separate legislation would be required to effect these changes to federal employee retirement benefits. NTEU opposes these devastating retirement proposals and will continue its work to block them.
It is unclear if this budget will proceed to the House floor for a vote before recess. I will keep you updated on further developments. NTEU is working with congressional allies to stop the attack on federal employee retirement.
To find out more and take action, please visit the NTEU Legislative Action Center.