The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee must decide today whether to include a special early-out provision in its budget reconciliation proposal.
Six of the committee's seven GOP members have endorsed it. Sen. Charles McC. Mathias Jr. (R-Md.) and the committee's six Democrats were uncommitted as of late yesterday.
The plan would make 700,000 federal workers eligible to take early retirement during a special 90-day period.
Under regular rules, the earliest most employes can get immediate pensions is at age 55 with 30 years' service.
The proposal would make workers eligible to retire after 25 years of service, at age 50 with 20 years of service, at age 55 with 15 years' service or at age 57 with five years' service.
Employes who are within five years of meeting normal age and service requirements could also retire early. Pensions would be reduced by 2 percent for each year retirees were under age 55.
If the proposal is not made part of the budget package it could surface later as a separate bill.
That measure has less chance of passage because federal and postal unions object to a three-year freeze on hiring replacements that is also included.