Employee unions and associations will urge Congress this year to give employees relief from the increased contributions toward retirement that were required by a 1997 budget measure. They’ll argue that the government’s improved fiscal picture makes the higher contributions—a 0.40 percent of salary increase has been phased in during 1999-2000 with another 0.10 percent of salary increase set to come next January—no longer necessary. Legislation is pending in Congress to repeal the contributions increase. But leaders are reluctant to begin picking apart the 1997 agreement since numerous other groups would then come forward asking for relief from its other provisions.