An OPM message to Congress containing proposed bill language on the Trump administration’s proposals on federal pay and benefits represents the latest installment of an argument that appears set to continue running along well-established lines throughout this year.
In his cover memo, OPM director Jeff Pon mirrored language the administration has used numerous times, that they would bring federal retirement benefits “more in line with the private sector.”
“The employee retirement landscape continues to evolve as private companies are providing less compensation in the form of retirement benefits. The shift away from defined benefit programs and cost-of-living adjustments for annuitants is part of that evolution,” he wrote. “By comparison, the federal government continues to offer a generous package of retirement benefits.”
In response, federal employee organizations and their allies in Congress denounced the proposals, as they did when the ideas originally were announced in the White House budget plan in February. They have used similar arguments–that federal employees have sacrificed enough over the years and that the benefits represent a long-standing promise from the government as their employer–for many years as similar proposals have been made, only to fall short of enactment into law.
OPM’s message to Congress is essentially the next required step in a lengthy process, coming as the House prepares to begin writing a blueprint called a budget resolution for the fiscal year that starts in October. The House Republican Study Committee, a group whose members include the majority of the House GOP, recently endorsed a largely similar package of cuts for inclusion in that plan.