In passing a budget outline Thursday, the House endorsed several provisions targeting federal employee pay, retirement benefits and job levels.
It rejected a plan to leave them alone but also voted down another that would have cut benefits more deeply.
The budget resolution proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) calls for continuing the freeze on federal salary rates through 2015; cutting federal employment by 10 percent by hiring one replacement for every three employees who leave; and requiring employees to pay as much into the retirement fund as the government pays. That provision would require an increase on the employee side of as much as 6 percent of salary.
The budget plan also raises the prospect of other cuts, including ending a retirement supplement for most employees under the Federal Employees Retirement System who retire before age 62.
Although the Senate is not expected to approve the House plan for the fiscal year that starts in October or pass an alternative, the series of votes put the House’s Republican majority on record as favoring those provisions, which could resurface in other bills.
During the votes, the House rejected a Democratic-sponsored plan containing no such changes, as well as one offered by a conservative group proposing base retiree inflation adjustments on a less generous measure, a cap on the government’s share of employee health insurance premiums and retirement contribution equalization.
Meanwhile, to extend certain transportation programs for three months, Congress has set aside several employee-related provisions that the Senate had attached to its version of a more comprehensive bill.
One would allow federal workers to phase into retirement by drawing a partial annuity while working part time and receiving a prorated salary. The other would boost, retroactive to January, from $125 to $240 the monthly tax-free maximum that employers, including the federal government, can pay to reimburse employees for commuting via public transit.