A group representing the majority of House Republicans has offered a budget plan containing a number of often-proposed changes to federal employment policies and cuts to retirement and other benefits.
A document from the Republican Study Committee proposes to increase required employee contributions toward retirement benefits by an unspecified amount but presumably following prior proposals that would require about a 6 percentage point increase for most employees over time. It also would reduce or eliminate—it doesn’t specify which—COLAs on retirement benefits; reduce the rate of return paid by the TSP’s government securities G fund; and replace the current percentage-based formula for government contributions toward FEHB premiums to a flat dollar figure.
Also, for those retiring after an unspecified future date, it would: base the annuity calculation on high-five salary rather than the current high-three; and eliminate 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.
The plan further would: reduce the federal workforce by an unstated percentage by allowing the hiring of only one employee for every three new vacancies; reduce future raises; eliminate “official time,” on the clock time for employees to perform certain union-related work; and further restrict spending on conferences and employee awards. It also states that “federal employees should be considered at-will employees, as congressional staff currently are” without further explanation; prior similar proposals would have removed many job protections, but only for those hired in the future.
The Republican Study Committee is not a committee in the formal sense but rather a caucus of the more conservative side of the House GOP. It issued its plan just ahead of an expected move by the Budget Committee to draft a spending blueprint for the fiscal year that starts in October. In recent years that committee, and then the House, approved many similar proposals, although each fell short being enacted into law.