Fedweek

Washington DC, Mar 11 2019 - A customer at the Government Publishing Office bookstore waits to purchase a copy of President Trump's fiscal 2020 budget. Trump proposes a $4.7 trillion budget with domestic spending cuts of 5 percent and $8.6 billion in new funding for walls on the US-Mexico border. The budget is considered dead on arrival in the House, which is led by Democrats.

The White House’s budget proposal, released Monday, was an incomplete version of that annual document, consisting of just a summary book with supporting books that contain fuller details still yet to come. In some cases those details will more fully describe proposals listed in what has been released, while in others they likely will address topics not mentioned so far.

For example, while last year’s version of a proposal to require higher employee contributions toward retirement specified that it would apply only to FERS employees, the current proposal does not say whether CSRS employees would be included as well. Similarly, the document does not address whether law enforcement officers and others subject to mandatory retirement would be exempt from repeal of the FERS “special retirement supplement,” as last year’s version specified.

Also, a proposal to “modify the government contribution to FEHB premiums” does not describe how it would be done. However, it gives a hint—by using similar budgetary projections—that it would be done in the same way as last year’s proposal. Under that proposal, there would be a standard contribution using the current formula while the government would pay 5 percentage points less for insurance plans in the lowest third of the quality rankings and 5 percentage points more for those in the top third.

Also missing so far is any mention of a $1 billion fund proposed last year to reward good performers and to increase incentives for high-demand occupations, which was presented as a trade-off for the proposed salary rate freeze. Nor is there mention of last year’s proposal to combine annual and sick leave into one category, to be called paid time off. The administration never spelled out those proposals in detail and Congress did not actively consider them last year.