Yesterday, the Senate passed its version of the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Resolution, H. Con. Res. 71, by a vote of 51 to 49. Unlike the House Budget Resolution, the Senate-passed resolution does not contain instructions for the committee with jurisdiction over the federal workforce to cut federal employee retirement benefits. This means that the Senate Budget Resolution does not include the required $32 billion in cuts to federal employee retirement benefits that passed the House. However, the Senate did vote on two amendments (S. Amdt. 1277 and S. Amdt. 1296) offered by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) which would have required cuts to federal employee benefit programs, as well as other unrelated federal programs, for deficit reduction and health care purposes. The Senate rejected both amendments.
It is widely believed that since the Senate adopted an amendment that included several provisions in the House-passed budget resolution, that there will be no conference. Instead the expectation is that the House will simply take up and vote on the Senate-passed version once the House is back in session starting next week. Therefore, the final Budget Resolution is not expected to include any required cuts to federal employee retirement.
By working closely with our friends in the Senate, we were able to defeat efforts to target federal employee healthcare and retirement benefits in the Senate budget resolution. All of us should take a moment to reflect on this legislative victory. However, this fight is not over; it is merely round one. NTEU will now focus its efforts with our allies in the House and Senate to ensure that similar cuts to federal employee pay and benefits are not included in any end of the year spending deal as we approach December 8, when funding for FY 2018 currently ends.
I will keep you informed on further developments and as details become available.