Legislation that would guarantee full cost-of-living raises next year to more than 2 million federal retirees will soon have enough cosponsors to pass the House.
The bill, introduced by Rep. Mary Rose Oakar (D-Ohio), exempts 1987 federal pension increases from the budget cutting required by the deficit reduction act. That law canceled a 3.1 percent raise that retirees, including more than 100,000 here, were supposed to get in January.
It takes 218 votes to guarantee House passage. As of midweek, Oakar and a bipartisan coalition of House members had rounded up 210 pledges of support. They may go over the top today.
Federal and military retirees, along with persons under Social Security, are supposed to get full cost-of-living adjustments each January.
A special three-judge panel yesterday rejected a challenge brought by the National Association of Retired Federal Employees, which had charged that Congress acted illegally in revoking the COLAs. The panel ruled that retirees had no property rights to benefits not yet paid.
Congress scrubbed the COLA for federal and military retirees, making them the first victims of the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings budget control law.
Because of the political dangers of tampering with Social Security benefits, which go to one in every seven Americans, Congress allowed the Social Security raise to go into effect, even though it involved much more money.
Oakar's bill would give the same protection next January to raises for retired civil servants, whose average pension is about $12,000 a year. Military COLAs
In the meantime, the Retired Enlisted Association reports that more than 60 cosponsors have signed a bill to restore the 1986 raise to military retirees, and guarantee them a cost-of- living adjustment in 1987. The bills are sponsored by Reps. Ronald Coleman (D-Tex.) and Robert W. Davis (R-Mich.). Job Mart
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