Now that the Senate and House budget committees have rejected President Reagan's proposal to raise the federal retirement age from 55 to 62, federal workers can relax -- a little.
The committee votes don't mean that the federal retirement age won't be raised someday. But it probably won't be this year.
The committees, which have developed their own versions of a spending plan for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, also ignored another presidential request to change federal retirement rules. Reagan had asked that employe contributions to the pension fund, now set at 7 percent of salary, be raised next year to 9 percent.
Both budget proposals have been come up in the past before Congress and have been rejected. But many federal workers have been expecting the worst to happen for the last five years.
Reagan can't make either of the changes without approval of Congress. Since both the House budget (written by Democrats) and the Senate budget (written by Republicans) reject the higher age and contribution rate, that more or less puts Congress on record against them.
The administration could try another legislative approach to get either or both of the changes passed into law. But chances are Congress would reject that approach as well.
What this means is that federal workers are now free to focus on other concerns -- such as plans to slap an immediate tax on pension benefits, job-threatening budget cuts and drug-testing proposals. Retiree Raises
Rep. Mary Rose Oakar (D-Ohio) has 183 cosponsors for her bill to guarantee a full cost-of-living adjustment next January for federal and military retirees. She needs 218 votes to assure House passage.
Federal and military retirees were due a 3.1 percent COLA the first of this year, but the raise was canceled by Congress as part of the budget-cutting program.
Similar legislation guaranteeing the 1987 raise to retirees has been introduced in the Senate by Paul S. Sarbanes (D-Md.) and Paul S. Trible Jr. (R-Va.). Blue Cross-Blue Shield
Federal workers and retirees who participated in the insurance plan last year are due refunds, and most have already received verification forms. Once those forms are returned to the insurance company, it will mail out refunds.
If your application doesn't arrive by April 1 (and you can't get one from your agency) you can get one by calling (800) 253-0123. Job Mart
Army has openings at Fort Lee (Va.) for two Grade 11 general engineers, and a GS 12 supervisory general engineer. Call Susan Hill at (804) 734-4554.
Commodity Futures Trading Commission needs a library technician (typing), GS 5/6. Must have civil service status. Call 254-3679.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is looking for a GS 15 supervisory electrical engineer. CS status required. Call 357-5674. Meetings
National Association of Retired Federal Employees Arlington Chapter meets at 1 p.m. April 9 at Culpepper Gardens Recreational Center. Former Virginia Democratic representative Joseph Fisher is the speaker. Call 528-1020. People
U.S. Geological Survey's Francis (Bill) Schaefer is retiring Friday after 50 years with Uncle Sam. Friends are honoring Schaefer, assistant regional hydrologist and Delaware River master, at a dinner April 10 in Reston.