The House Budget Committee has released a detailed description of a budget outline it passed recently revealing that, as expected, the panel once again supports major changes in retirement, health insurance and other aspects of federal employment. The budget resolution is only a planning document and likely will not advance beyond a full House vote, which could occur in upcoming weeks–although differences among House Republicans could dissuade leaders there from even attempting a vote. Regardless of the outcome, the measure serves as starting point for provisions that could resurface later in the process of setting the fiscal 2017 federal budget. These include: reducing the workforce by 10 percent through a partial hiring freeze, with some exceptions; requiring that all employees and the government share equally in funding of federal retirement benefits, meaning a required increase in the employee share of about 6 percent of salary for most; ending the “special retirement supplement” for FERS employees who retire before age 62 and that is paid until they become eligible for Social Security at that age; reducing the rate of return, and thus the government’s cost in interest, in the TSP’s government securities G fund, to nearly zero; reducing money available for employee awards at the VA by 30 percent; linking the government contribution toward FEHB premiums to annual general inflation rather than to the usually higher growth in premium costs; linking that share for retirees to their length of service; and ending the civil service portion of FERS benefits for those hired in the future.
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