The future is uncertain for a House committee-passed budget blueprint for the fiscal year that starts in October, a measure that recommends increasing the amount federal employees pay toward their retirement benefits and eliminating the “special retirement supplement” for FERS employees who retire before age 62.
The Budget Committee approved that plan (H. Con. Res. 71) last week but so far there appear to be no firm plans to bring the measure to a floor. The outcome would be uncertain, with Democrats opposing the plan and with the most conservative and the most moderate factions of House Republicans also having criticized it, from opposite directions. However, passage of the measure is needed to clear the way for a planned tax reform bill to be brought later to a Senate vote needing only a simple majority–and therefore there is pressure to bring it to a vote, if not before the upcoming congressional recess then after.
The budget “resolution” assumes $32 billion in savings over 10 years through a contributions increase and ending the supplement, but specifics would be up to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Issues there would include whether to end the supplement only for future retirees and if so when; and how much to raise the required contribution, over how long a period, and whether it would apply to all employees.
The assumed starting point would be the White House proposal to end the supplement–which essentially duplicates the value of Social Security benefits for FERS employees who retire before age 62 up to that age when they can begin drawing Social Security–only prospectively and to require higher contributions only from employees under FERS, about a 6 percentage point increase for most, phased in as one additional point per year.
Meanwhile, a newly introduced bill (HR-3269) backed by employee organizations seeks the opposite, to repeal the current requirement that FERS employees hired after 2012 pay more into the retirement system than those hired previously.