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Hoyer: Pay, benefit cuts still on the table, but no agreement yet

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The prospect of major cuts to federal pay and benefits as part of a debt ceiling deal has many federal employees and their advocates extremely nervous. The so-called Gang of Six today backed lowering cost-of-living adjustments for federal and military retirees. But other proposals have suggested making federal employees contribute about 5 percent more of their salaries toward their pensions, base their pensions on their highest-five salaries instead of their high-three, switching feds’ health care to a premium support system, cutting staffing levels, or further freezing pay raises.

At a pen-and-pad briefing this morning with House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., I asked what fed-oriented proposals were still on the table, and which had the greatest chance of becoming reality. Hoyer responded:

Clearly, there have been a wide array of options put on the table. There have been no specific federal employee cuts that have been supported by us at this point in time. But there are things on the table dealing with pay and benefits of federal employees.

Retirement, federal employee health benefits and pay — they are the three benefits that federal employees essentially have. There have been … an array of options discussed. There have been no agreements on any of those.

Van Hollen then chimed in:

The Republican budget plan would immediately cut federal employee pay by about 5 1/2 percent. We think that that’s a terrible signal to send to federal employees. It’s like saying to the guys who helped track down Osama bin Laden, thank you very much, here’s your 5 1/2 percent pay cut. So it is, as the Whip said, we’ve been working very hard to make sure that there’s shared responsibility within this package.

Hoyer in May said proposals to cut federal employees’ benefits must be on the table in deficit reduction talks, though he did not endorse any proposals.

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  1. Patrick Says:
    July 19th, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    Cowards and Traitors is the name of this Congress

  2. Jeff Says:
    July 19th, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    Amazing!!!! Don’t touch social security for retirees, but feel free to whack at us federal retirees. Hope all you senators, representatives, and President have jobs lined up after the 2012 elections.

  3. Helen Kraft Says:
    July 20th, 2011 at 8:18 am

    Federal employees need to band together and vote all these jokers out of office, starting with Van Hollen and Hoyer. they need to learn there’s a price for not supporting their constitutents.

  4. Rose Says:
    July 20th, 2011 at 8:42 am

    OH yeah….and what about the $18.8 billion spent by the State Dept in FY10 to aid other countries…to include updating mosques and provide computers to private citizens the same countries!!!! After 34+ years as a DoD employee, I know I am getting messed over….and so is every tax payer.

  5. SSANY Says:
    July 20th, 2011 at 9:28 am

    How about all of the elected federal officials giving up the perks, salary increases and overpaid staffers?
    How about that health care package or their retirement plans?
    How about those investments that may be considered a conflict of interest?
    Why don’t we ALL pitch in to make the American Dream active again?

  6. George Robinson Says:
    July 20th, 2011 at 9:38 am

    The current congress is a big joke. Never in the history of our government have we been so down trodden and shoved under the bus. We need to do some extremely hard thinking and determine just who should remain and who should be replaced in the upcoming elections. Freedom? It almost is just a word anymore.

  7. Rufus T. Firefly Says:
    July 20th, 2011 at 9:50 am

    There should be an immediate 15% cut in the number of congressman. Although the number of senators is mandated by the constitution, the number of congressman is not. It is obvious that 435 is too many and encourages the creation of pet projects. Seriously, how many of these 435 congressman actually do anything of significance anyway? It’s time to break up the millionaire club on Capitol Hill and for them to do “more with less” too.

  8. 35year Retired Says:
    July 20th, 2011 at 9:52 am

    I agree with Helen, Patrick, and Jeff. Any federal employee or retiree who votes in any candiadate or party with a history of attacking civil servants needs to have their head examined unless they enjoy suicide by vote. I have had it with thes eltitist politicians who ratehr than deal with the real misspending (i.e. like sending millions back to their home states for bull—- spending they attack civil servants who dedicate their adult lives in service to their country. We are second class retirees!! I have always voted GOP, but with the majority of attacks coming from the GOP I will be damned if I ever vote for anotehr GOP candidate again. We are millions strong-we need to wake up, do our homework before elections and vote them out, back to the big business and law firms they come from!

  9. Jimbo Says:
    July 20th, 2011 at 9:53 am

    Here we go again. Make us pay for their overspending and lack of budget planning. It is congress who have overspent with deficit spending for decades. Its not just one political party or president. Although the democrats have become the king of overspending and adding over 5 ½ Trillion to our budget since 2007 when Pelosi and Reid took over both houses of congress.

  10. DAC Says:
    July 20th, 2011 at 9:59 am

    They our Congress, both Democrats and Republicans should be talking about pay cuts and benefit cuts for themselves first. Lead by example and while they are at it have Obamacare and Social Security apply to themselves as well. Notice they never really actually talk about true reforms such as eliminating those 12 privately owned Federal Reserve Banks- talk of stench of corruption.

  11. Bob Says:
    July 20th, 2011 at 10:00 am

    Federal pensions should not have a new CPI unless the CPI is adjusted for social security.

  12. Bill T. Says:
    July 20th, 2011 at 10:03 am

    So, I don’t hear anyone calling for people in industry to take a cut in pay to help dig the country out. How about some of those clueless pundits that have no idea what work actually gets done? Government workers are still WORKING, that’s why they get paid.

  13. paul Says:
    July 20th, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Sorry Helen, there’s only one of us for every ten of them that think we’re scum because we chose to serve our country.

  14. Dennie Says:
    July 20th, 2011 at 10:24 am

    I want to know what the President & Congress are going to be “cutting” and “giving up”? What about their outlandish benefits, including their outrageous social security benefit? Where is their contribution to resolving this mess that I believe they created? Aren’t they considered “government employees” also? It appears that they believe they will solve the debt issues by taking everything away from the Federal Employee!

  15. terry Says:
    July 20th, 2011 at 10:46 am

    This is a tragedy for those wanting to retire soon and relocate. Housing market is in the dumps and homes aren’t selling; and an average of high 5 instead of high 3 is a punishment, instead of a reward for years of government service.

  16. March Says:
    July 20th, 2011 at 11:08 am

    Is that all you can think of? Really? How about lay off some congressman and their staffs?

  17. Sam Swartz Says:
    July 20th, 2011 at 11:52 am

    At least Van Hollen and Hoyer are trying to protect their constitutents (for there are a lot of current and retired federal employees in their districts). We all know that we paid into the system and now that it is time for us to use those benefits, it is a shame that some people in Congress forget that. For those that don’t support us, vote them out of office next November.

  18. Dan Says:
    July 20th, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    Helen, you are clearly an idiot. Hoyer and Van Hollen are TRYING to support their constituents and stop these cuts. It’s the Republicans who have been targeting Federal employee pay.

  19. Miller Says:
    July 20th, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Amazing! They should first look at themselves since they are the ones that got us into this $14.3 trillion dollar hole.
    First they should take pay freezes. Second they should only receive 15 percent retirement for every four years they serve. This would give them incentive to do right by the people or be voted out for doing a bad job. This would be a good start for them. However, they don’t look at themselves as part of the problem. Lead by example!
    Here is a money saver. Quit giving to ILLEGAL aliens. They are ILLEGAL and deserve nothing but to be sent back home. Quit pampering them for the sake of future votes. Yet another sellout.
    It just kills me that after 28 years of government service and an additional three years military, you want to pull away from me what I have worked for all of these years. My plans to retire at the end of next year may soon be cut short and I will, (if you do as you plan) retire with far less than what I had planned. 2012 can not come soon enough.

  20. Fred Teed Says:
    July 20th, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    I think that Hoyer has been spending too much time with Pellousie. What the heck is going on with our government? Why are us Feds being blamed and penalized for implementing and executing the very jobs that were created and mandated by these politicians who are now trying to do us in. These so-called representatives of the American People are the very ones who established our job functions in the first place by passing the laws and legislative requirements necessitating our positions. What I don’t get is how these so-called political leaders can enjoy immunity and have no accountability for their actions when the going gets tough when, in fact, it is all their doing. Its a shame that at election time all we only have a picking pool the size of a mud puddle with only these lifers who have made a lengthy career in politics as a result of their expertise in deceiving and lying when in fact their only concern is for themselves and what their political influence can personally yield for them or from losers who want to hop on the gravy train because they don’t have anything better to do. Their abilities primarily are knowing how to prey on stupid voters who don’t do their homework and who have short term memories on why they weren’t going to vote for that person in the next election but end up doing so anyway. Changes need to be made to our unfair and obsolete system and voters should have the right to immediately get satisfaction by evoking their support for a candidate who habitually reneges on their campaign promises. They should have the immediate authority to gather other voters together and vote to impeached these breachers out of their comfy office. The world would sure be a better place if high profile people were actually held accountable for their actions. That goes for Corporate CEOs, Bankers and Walls Street crooks also.

  21. Jim Says:
    July 20th, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    I’m really sorry, but, you can’t say you didn’t see this coming. It’s an attack on multiple fronts: NO raises, 3 to 5 year high, radical increases to the retirement contribution, radical increases to the health care premiums, NO COLAs, reduced A/L and S/L. Remember the 240 hours of banked A/L that your use to have ? Remember the balance you use to have in your TSP ?? 1 for 3 re-hires. The brain trust, us experienced senior employees will be leaving with all our knowledge and experience… and who’s left to take over. May god help us all.

  22. Pam Says:
    July 20th, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    My husband retired after over 32 years of service. He has been retired 9 years now and except for 2-3 years, his retirement has gone down (we’ve now down over $100+/mo.) because of raises in medical insurance and life insurance premiums. Believe me, I am thankful to have them, but we are going backwards instead of ahead. End contributions to all aliens, foreign countries, wars, etc. and concentrate on the USA! Between 1/11 and 3/11, Congress gave out 6.1 million to their staffs for raises and bonuses. I didn’t get any COLA.

  23. Nancy Richter Says:
    July 20th, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    Voting out these individuals will not help us after our retirement has been reduced.

    Shame on our Congress. Do not these people understand the hardest hit will be minorities and single Moms. The public sector takes their EEO committment seriously and we hire by qualification with emphasis on diversity.

    Let’s talk about shared responsibility. Is Congress willing to share the responsibility when qualified personnel in the public sector leave their positions and go to the private sector because of the descrepancy in pay? Do they really want employees barely qualified or not qualified to occupy these positions of high trust?

    Additionally, why is the civil servant required to pay for the sins of previous Congresses? It is the Congress who over spent, not us. I never voted for deficit spending. But apparently I will pay the price.

    Personnally, I am eligible for retirement now but had decided to remain in employment due to my experience which would take more than a few years to replace. It is actually fun to be a high performer and to be the “go-to-person” in our agency. If I retire and continue to work elsewhere – even for less money than in federal service – I will come out ahead. The taxpayer who is depending on our services will not receive the quality and timeliness of service unless we are paid according to the qualify demanded of a civil servant.

    I am a single woman with only myself to look to for security and have done so all my life. I cannot work if it means continuing will cause me to retire with less of an annuity than if I retire today. Does the logic of this argument escape Congress? Or do they think all federal employees are unable to balance their own checkbook? Wait, of course they do, they haven’t balanced the public’s checkbook in lord knows when. No wonder they believe we are unable to get out of the rain.

    I am a member of the baby-boom generation and there are hundreds like me in Federal service with the same plan. That plan is, if this goes through, we are gone.

  24. Jim Says:
    July 20th, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    Our governement is letting us down. Why don’t they mention the illegal immigration problem. Welfare handed out to illegals, free medical, education, SSI to people who have never worked in America. Why don’t we cut aid to countries that do not support us. I have been a federal employee for over 30 years and have worked overseas for many years next to contractors that are making twice what I am making, tax free for the first $90,000 +. The contractors are robbing the US of millions and no one even mentions them or audits them. Attacking the Federal Employee is small change in compairison to the current gross missmanagment of our governement. We need to clean house in 2012 we need to vote out these backstabbing hipocrites. After they implament these changes to my benefits, I will be on welfare and foodstamps when I retire.

  25. Jim Zygote Says:
    July 21st, 2011 at 7:38 am

    Just because big buisness over spent, giving bonuses and wht war effort which is sucking the American people dry over what? Look and see what all these little squirmishes are costing the American people and we are being held hostage by our elected leaders? Please people wake up, vote every foll out of office and start fresh, too many millionaires are out there sucking a few pennies from out purses so that they benefit. Fenderal workers are not to blame for this farce. Where were all these great thinkers of budgets when we needed them in the past. Loosing houses and now having to have us pay more for benefits, means less monies going into the TSP also as since I get no raises, I lowered my TSP by 5% and will do again if all this happens, so just put in the bare minimum to get your matching funds, soon everyone on TSP will be taking a reduction on there retirement pay just like SSA retired people. Again, holding the American people hostage over something that is not our fault. No more middle class just rich or poor. Here come the 2nd great depression. Might as well pull your monies out and do your own investing sine the TSP accounts lose monies everytime someone farts in the Middle East or some 3rd world country. What a fine mess you’ve gotten me into Stanley.

  26. mike Says:
    July 21st, 2011 at 8:39 am

    Vote them all OUT! From the top down.

  27. George Says:
    July 21st, 2011 at 8:44 am

    Stop sending our money to countries that hate us. The budget will soon be balanced. Start taking care of our own LEGAL citizens.
    Give Congressmen and Senators limited terms, 6 years max and limit their benefits.

  28. Betty Says:
    July 21st, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    START AT THE TOP! Congress, Senators, House of Reps & all Polititians (all the big money people) Freeze their pay, bonuses, incentives etc.. Have them all give back the Government cars & charge cards. Use their own vehicles to get to work & pay the price for gas (like we do). That will save millions of unnecessary expenses that we pay for. Come November vote them all out of a job and elect someone that knows about middle class survival.
    We did not cause this deficit, but we are being singled out while other ones responsible are still getting pay raises & bonuses.
    I have been a federal employee for 15 years and I have a salary of $53,000.and after taxes & deductions about 32,000. I work from paycheck to paycheck right now. we have everything going up, gas, insurance, electric, cable, health coverage, groceries & insurance co-pays.
    If all the immigrants were sent back to where they came from we would have jobs for our people. They work here under the table and send the money to their country. What do we get?? The shaft as usual. There is no more loyalty in our government and we are going to the dogs because of our politians getting us into this mess.

  29. Lucille Hudson Says:
    July 22nd, 2011 at 8:49 am

    I am so sick and tired of OUR Congressmen(s) not hestating to make adjustments in Federal Government employees Pensions or Insurances.

    When will we the people start demanding that ADJUSTMENTS be made regarding how long they serve or represent the people, change their Retirement plan (serve 10 years and you are set for life with a Pension and Insurance) Not a bad deal, right.

    Over the years, Congressmen do not hestitate to give themselves a large or decent raise, yet, you would think they do not care about the people. They should only have a ten year term, not 20 or 30. They need to be hit in the pocket just like everyone else.

  30. Robin Says:
    July 22nd, 2011 at 9:49 am

    Is congress, senators, house of reps and so on cutting their paycheck, are they cutting that high price medical office that their can go to but the rest of government employees can’t go to, i think not. Start at the top why is it always the middle class and the poor having to pay. I live paycheck to paycheck.

  31. CINDY Says:
    July 22nd, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    I am a Federal employee who is a single mother and can not afford living on what we are making now. If you raise all medical, pension contributions with no COLA’s how do you expect the economy to survive?
    Please start with your income and benefits then we will talk on attacking Federal employees.

  32. Pete Says:
    July 22nd, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    There is no way they will do it. They know we vote. They know we have very good memories. They want to stay in office? Then protect the people who put you in office. Stand up to the NO party. Enough is enough. The good of the many outweigh the good of the Tparty. Time for the wealthy and the corporations to pay their fair share. Time for what is left of the middle class and the poor to stand up.

  33. E SARGE Says:
    August 8th, 2011 at 8:01 am

    I’m deeply concerned for how our nation’s infrastructure will function in the future based on the current overtaxing of the workforce. Although not the topic of discussion, our present healthcare system is in serious trouble. I’m worried because if our incomes are being negatively affected now, then how will we, as the current workforce, care for ourselves 25-30 years from now?