The House committee with jurisdiction over federal employes has rejected President Reagan's proposals for a government-wide freeze on pay this year and major cost-cutting in the federal retirement system.
Instead of the pay freeze recommended by Reagan in his budget for fiscal 1984, the Democratic-controlled Post Office and Civil Service Committee yesterday proposed an increase of at least 4 percent, which was projected by Congress when it adopted this year's budget.
For federal retirees, the committee rejected Reagan's proposed 13-month delay in cost-of-living increases and called for a postponement of only six months, the same delay that has been proposed for Social Security inflation adjustments.
The committee also said it does not intend to act this year on the president's proposals for an increase in employes' contributions to the cost of their retirement benefits and for a reduction in benefits for workers who retire before age 65.
Nor did it indicate whether it will act favorably on Reagan's proposals for changes in financing government workers' health insurance, including fixed government contributions to encourage use of less costly plans.
In effect, the committee signaled its willingness to go along with inclusion of newly hired federal workers in the Social Security System. This inclusion was approved Tuesday by the Ways and Means Committee as part of a bipartisan Social Security rescue plan, so long as Congress shelves Reagan's other proposals for cost-cutting at the expense of federal workers.
In another major Democratic challenge to Reagan's budget priorities, the House Education and Labor Committee approved spending plans of $43.8 billion for next year, a $15.7 billion increase over what Reagan recommended for programs under the committee's jurisdiction. Spending for employment and job training programs and for educating low-income students accounted for some of the biggest increases, according to committee aides.
On top of the $43.8 billion, the committee also urged that $9 billion be set aside for job-creating programs under study by the Democratic leadership to expand on the $4.6 billion "emergency" jobs bill that the House will act on today.
Both committees' recommendations go now to the House Budget Committee for inclusion in Congress' version of the 1984 budget.
Their action came as the House Democratic leadership was asserting increasing control over the congressional budget-making process, including a new step, disclosed yesterday by Speaker Thomas P. (Tip) O'Neill Jr. (D-Mass.), that requires ratification of the budget and other economic initiatives by the full Democratic caucus. But O'Neill told reporters he does not intend to "go hog wild," implying that the spending may have to be restrained more than some Democrats, including himself, would prefer.
However, the federal workers' recommendations appear to be in line with leadership policy. In a letter to other House members last week, O'Neill joined Ways and Means Chairman Dan Rostenkowski (D-Ill.) and Post Office and Civil Service Chairman William D. Ford (D-Mich.) in opposing administration-proposed pension changes, except for inclusion of new federal workers under Social Security.
Meanwhile, the House Rules Committee sent the $4.6 billion jobs bill to the House floor under rules that allow four amendments, including ones to add $200 million for health care programs, to expand and reshuffle proposed spending for mass transit and to target the spending more toward areas of high unemployment.
Mass transit funding of $110 million in the bill had been earmarked for districts represented by members of the Appropriations Committee, setting off a rebellion by many other members, including Public Works and Transportation Committee Chairman James J. Howard (D-N.J.). O'Neill indicated yesterday that he, too, thought the earmarking was wrong.
An amendment proposed by Howard, and sanctioned by the Rules Committee, would add $61 million for transit and drop all the specific project designations. It would also overturn Reagan's proposal to defer $229 million in previously approved money for mass transit.
In the Senate, Appropriations Committee Chairman Mark O. Hatfield (R-Ore.) is proposing a $4.2 billion jobs bill and plans to mark it up and sent it to the floor Monday, putting the measure on a fast track.