Fedweek

The House Budget Committee plans to draw up this week a budget “resolution” for the budget year that starts in October, a blueprint that as drafted would target federal retirement and other benefits in the same way as past versions and in a way similar to Trump administration proposals.

A budget resolution sets general spending levels, orders other committees to achieve savings of certain amounts in areas under their control and includes recommendations, not binding, on how to achieve them. Last year the measure as passed by that committee and later by the full House would have required the Oversight and Government Reform Committee to produce $32 billion in deficit reduction over 10 years. It recommended increasing employees’ required contributions toward retirement—presumably to make them equal to the government’s share, meaning about a 6 percent of salary increase in the employee share for most—and by eliminating the “special retirement supplement” paid to those under FERS who retire before age 62 and until that age when they can draw Social Security benefits.

A committee document produced ahead of its meetings says the plan will order the same level of savings and will recommend the same cuts. It further will seek to “create parity between federal employees and private sector employees by transitioning to defined contribution plans.” Similar past proposals would have ended the defined benefit annuity aspect of federal retirement while boosting government contributions into employees’ TSP accounts. They typically would have applied only to those hired after a future date, with current employees being allowed to opt in.

The White House budget proposal recommended similar steps, as did a group representing most House Republicans. Such recommendations have been in House budget plans for years but have fallen short of final enactment, apart from two increases in employee contributions toward retirement required of newly hired employees.