12/3/10: Today the President’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform failed to achieve the 14 vote threshold necessary to require congressional action on their comprehensive deficit reduction proposal. The final proposal, which received 11 votes in favor and 7 against,was strongly opposed by NTEU because it contained a number of provisions that would have adversely impacted federal employees and retirees. These include a three year freeze on federal salaries; a ten percent reduction in the federal workforce; an increase in federal employee pension contributions as well as a change to a “high 5” calculation instead of “high 3”for government pensions; a redesign of FEHBP to turn it into a voucher program; and an increase in the Social Security retirement age.
Last month, in a letter to each member of the Commission, NTEU National President Colleen Kelley expressed NTEU’s strong opposition to these proposals and noted the adverse impact they would have on federal agencies’ abilities to meet their missions. In particular, Kelley noted the proposals would likely result in administrative delays, fewer staff to handle increasing workloads, a loss of talent to other sectors, longer phone waits and lines, and fewer resources to handle everything from food safety to social security disability claims, to homeland security.
While NTEU is happy to see that Congress will not be forced to consider this anti-federal employee proposal as a whole this year, we fully expect to see many, if not all of them, independently introduced during the next Congress.
You can be assured that in the future NTEU will continue to oppose any misguided deficit reduction proposals that would adversely impact hard working federal employees and retirees.