A House committee yesterday easily passed an amendment to President Carter's civil service revision bill that would limit the income of future military retirees who become civilian employes of the federal government - so-called "double dippers."
The amendment will not affect those who already are earning federal pay on top of their military pensions, nor will it affect those disabled in combat, Rep, Patricia Schroeder (D-Colo.) explained carefully when she introduced the amendment.
As of a year ago there were 34 retired generals who combined federal paychecks and pensions averaged $83,293 in annual income, an additional 16 retired generals at more than $81,000; 60 generals earning $60,948; and nearly 2,500 other retired officers getting an average $48,569 annually, according to a Congressional study cited by Schroeder.
For future retirees, the amendment would limit the total federal income to the top salary in effect for civil service career employes (currently $47,500). It would not affect most lower-ranking retirees who get civil service jobs, according to a Schroeder aide.
The amendment does not apply to certain high-ranking federal law enforcement officials who, under a unique D.C. retirement provision, get full pensions on top of civil service pay, the aide noted. Their pensions are tax free, an advantage that even disabled military retirees do not get, he noted.
These and other aspects of military and related pension systems are under fire and under study by various official bodies.
Her amendment is designed to deal with "the most blatant" cases of double-dipping, Schroeder said before it passed the House Post Office and Civil Service Committee by a voice vote.
The current system, among other things, "promotes mediocrity" among high-ranking military officers, the aide said. "A general who stays on (past the opportunity to retire after 20 years service) is capped at $47,500 but he's looking across the Pentagon hall at a guy who retired, got a civil serivce job, and is now making twice as much. So theere isn't much incentive to stay past 20 years."