A budget plan unveiled Tuesday by the Republican leaders of the House Budget Committee repeats a proposal to require federal employees to pay more of their salary toward their retirement benefits.
“In keeping with a recommendation from the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, this budget calls for Federal employees—including Members of Congress and congressional staff—to make greater contributions toward their own retirement,” the legislative language says.
The measure does not specify a percentage change, but that commission, commonly known as the Simpson-Bowles Commission, recommended that employees and the government equally share in funding those benefits. For most employees, that would mean an increase in their contributions of about 6 percent of salary.
The plan, a first step in the long congressional budget-setting process, is due to be considered by the committee Wednesday. The Senate counterpart committee is also set to take up its own version of the budget “resolution” Wednesday.
The resolution is a planning document that is not presented to the White House for signature or veto.
Similar provisions were in prior budget plans that passed the House in recent years but that went no farther as the Senate did not produce a counterpart plan. However, those House votes did help pave the way for smaller increases in the required contributions from employees first hired into the government in 2013 and later.
Unlike prior recent House budgets, the latest plan does not explicitly seek a 10 percent reduction in the federal workforce nor cuts to programs including student loan reimbursements for federal employees or a retirement supplement paid to many of them who retire before age 62. However, it orders the Oversight and Government Reform Committee to recommend savings in programs under its jurisdiction. The biggest dollar-item programs under that panel’s purview are federal employee health insurance and retirement.
Also, the document calls for consolidating federal programs in transportation, education, job training, housing assistance and other areas, with the potential for reducing the numbers of federal employees working in them. It also would leave in place for many agencies the spending limits imposed by a previous budget deal that create pressure to hold down employment levels.
“Instead of focusing on creating new jobs and lifting more Americans out of poverty, the House leadership has proposed a budget that does exactly the opposite by slashing the compensation and jobs of hard-working federal employees,” American Federation of Government Employees president J. David Cox Sr. said in a statement.