Congress will take a long, hard look at the federal retirement system next session, regardless of who is elected president in November.

Democrats and Republicans, who have made the federal deficit a major issue, are anxious to trim future outlays of the federal and military pension system.

Among the cost-cutting measures Congress will consider:

Limiting future cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for civilian and military retirees to either the rise in inflation (as measured by the Consumer Price Index) or the percentage of the regular federal pay raise, whichever is lower.

The January COLA is expected to be a little higher than 3 percent. Federal workers will get a 3 1/2 percent raise in January.

Limiting full COLAs to the first $10,000 or $15,000 of annuity. Smaller increases would be given on amounts over the cut-off in this so-called means test system.

Authorizing COLAs that are less than the full increase in inflation. Some private retirement plans limit pension increases to two-thirds or less of the actual rise in living costs.

Requiring current federal and postal employes to contribute more of their salaries to the civil service retirement system. Workers now contribute 7 percent of gross salary to the fund.

Increasing that contribution would pump millions more into the system, cutting take-home pay of employes accordingly. None of the changes can be made unless both the Senate and the House approve them and the president signs them into law.