Federal budget 2013: Plan calls for increase in federal employee pension contributions

”Davidson”

The Obama administration is proposing to increase the contribution of federal employees to their retirement program by 0.4 percent each year over three years.

In a telephone briefing with federal union leaders on the administration’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2013, officials from the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Personnel Management said the 1.2 percent increase over three years would save the government about $27 billion over 10 years.

Union leaders described the briefing to the Washington Post. “We are not happy,” said one.

Last month, the Federal Eye reported that President Obama wants to end the current two-year freeze on federal worker basic pay rates by increasing wages by 0.5 percent beginning in January.

The proposed raise, like the rest of the budget, is already facing stiff opposition from Republicans on Capitol Hill. House Republicans have approved bills that would extend the current pay freeze an additional year. In the Senate, six Republicans have introduced legislation that would effectively add another 24 months to the current freeze.

The Obama administration says the present freeze will save $60 billion over 10 years.

In their push for even greater sacrifice from the federal workforce, Republicans have repeatedly cited a recent Congressional Budget Office report that said: “Overall, the federal government paid 16 percent more in total compensation than it would have if average compensation had been comparable with that in the private sector, after accounting for certain observable characteristics of workers.”

Other government figures, however, published by the Federal Salary Council, indicate federal employees are paid, on average, 26 percent less than their private sector counterparts.

federaldiary@washpost.com

Previous columns by Joe Davidson are available at wapo.st/JoeDavidson . Follow the Federal Diary on Twitter: @JoeDavidsonWP

Joe Davidson writes the Federal Diary, a column about federal government and workplace issues that celebrated its 80th birthday in November 2012. Davidson previously was an assistant city editor at The Washington Post and a Washington and foreign correspondent with The Wall Street Journal, where he covered federal agencies and political campaigns.

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