Extend payroll tax cut, leave federal pay alone, union says


House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has said that a Senate-passed extension of the payroll tax is unlikely to pass in the House. (Chip Somodevilla/GETTY IMAGES)

The Senate deal doesn’t include any provisions that would extend the federal worker pay freeze or require them to pay more towards their retirement. But a House GOP-backed bill passed last week would do just that.

Colleen M. Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, called on Republicans to avoid introducing a similar measure this week, noting that many federal employees are not eligible for the payroll tax extension because they are not covered by Social Security.

“Federal employees have contributed $60 billion to deficit reduction, through a two-year pay freeze,” Kelley said in a message sent to House lawmakers.

“Federal employees are working with severely limited resources,” she added. “They have faced government shutdowns four times this year. Yet, they have worked diligently to deliver services to the public. To ask them to bear such a disproportionate additional burden in offsetting a payroll tax reduction, while the rich remain completely untouched is unfair and unacceptable.”

The House measure passed last week would have saved taxpayers about $65 billion by denying federal employees a cost of living increase for a third straight year and forcing them to pay about 1.5 percent more in pension contributions. Federal worker unions have argued such cuts would unfairly target middle-class feds while not asking upper income Americans to pay more in taxes.

The Senate’s bill, passed Saturday 89 to 10, included no changes to federal employee pay or retirement benefits.

Follow Ed O’Keefe on Twitter: @edatpost

Further reading:

Senate, House on collision course over payroll tax cut extension

Congress grants Postal Service a big extension

For more, visit PostPolitics and The Fed Page.

Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates. He's covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he's covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies and the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.

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