9/29/11: In keeping with our efforts to fight against the unwarranted reductions of federal employees’ pensions and benefits, NTEU has signed this coalition letter to the Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, more commonly known as the “Supercommittee,” urging them to reject proposals by President Obama that would have an “inequitable” impact on federal employees. This follows the letters NTEU sent earlier to the President and OMB.
“Federal employees have already made a $60 billion sacrifice in the form of a pay freeze and are now facing layoffs and downsizing due to shrinking agency budgets,” said NTEU National President Colleen Kelley. “The proposal by the White House to further penalize federal employees is simply unfair and unacceptable. We join with the coalition in calling on the super committee to reject these harmful proposals.”
The administration submitted proposals on Sept. 19 to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction that included provisions calling for $21 billion in ‘reforms’ to civilian federal employee benefit programs that would ask federal employees to make higher contributions toward their retirement.
In the letter today to the super committee, the coalition called on the members to reject these provisions that would increasefederal employee contributions to the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund by 1.2 percent, with no corresponding increase in benefits, and eliminate the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) annuity supplement for new hires.
“We appreciate the Administration’s call for ‘some sacrifice from all of us;’ however, federal employees are being disproportionately targeted in the continuing waves of deficit reduction proposals. Not only are employees facing layoffs and downsizing due to shrinking agency budgets, they are also already subject to compensation cuts,” the coalition letter states.
The coalition said eliminating the annuity supplement for early retirees under FERS “would be an unfair cancellation” of the commitment Congress made to federal employees when it established the system in 1987.
While calling on the committee to reject the proposed cuts, the coalition did commend some other provisions in the president’s proposals, including capping the salaries of top level contractors at approximately $200,000, a reduction from the current cap of $700,000; plans to save $1.6 billion by streamlining the pharmacy benefit program under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program; and additional funding for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for new tax enforcement and compliance initiatives.
“These programs play a critical role in preserving the fairness and integrity of the U.S. tax system and generate a positive return on investment for taxpayers of roughly seven to one,” the coalition wrote of the additional IRS funding.