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Bill cutting federal pensions heads to full House

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Rep. Dennis Ross (photo by Blair Tomlinson)The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee this evening passed a bill cutting federal pensions on a party-line vote. HR 3813, the Securing Annuities for Federal Employees Act, would raise the amounts federal employees contribute to their pensions by 1.5 percentage points, eliminate the Federal Employees Retirement System supplement for retirees who aren’t yet eligible for Social Security, and drastically cut pensions for future federal retirees. Read more about the bill here.

Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., the bill’s sponsor, said federal pensions are too expensive for the cash-strapped government to continue to cover. But Democrats unanimously blasted Republicans for treating feds like a “piggy bank,” in the words of Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md. They say the GOP is asking federal employees to sacrifice their pensions to alleviate the deficit, while refusing to even consider raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

And Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., was the most vehement denouncer of the bill. He called it “a new low” for the House GOP, and said Republicans may be close to sadism. Said Connolly:

One has to wonder when the House Republican leadership crosses the line from political opportunism to sadism in its relentless assault on public servants. Do some derive pleasure from denigrating and, with this bill, impoverishing the patriots who volunteer to serve their country?

Ross dismissed accusations that Republicans aimed to trash feds. “It is not at all a swipe at anybody,” Ross said. “There is no vilification going on.”

But as the bill goes to the full House, the rhetoric is clearly heating up. Stay tuned for more information on this bill tomorrow.

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Comments

  1. Cliff Says:
    February 8th, 2012 at 7:23 am

    First we have to worry about social security being there and then now this! Those in congress need to get their retirement eliminated first since most of them will have a pension that is more than my pay anyways. If I was a congressman and my pension would ne more than 100k I really would not worry about them reducing it a little either. This is a joke, those in congress should have the same as us. I can understand if there is a small cut to help the cause but then make everybody the same as far as a pension goes. Those up in congress need to wake up.

  2. Chris Says:
    February 8th, 2012 at 11:24 am

    I feel betrayed by conservative Congressional leaders. As a fellow conservative, this is not what I voted these leaders to do. This bill extends my retirement date effectively six years. I will not be able to afford to retire at 56 as was promised when I joined the Federal service 23 years ago to serve my country. By eliminating the ‘Social Security Bridge’, Republicans have effectively eliminated one of the 3 legs of the promised Federal retirement. This is theft, plain and simple. I have faithfully served my country and my elected representative have turned their backs on that service. I have earned every penny that was paid to me to provide engineering services to the Department of Defense. These earnings are in jeopardy because of this foolish legistlation.

  3. Steve Says:
    February 8th, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    really an all time new low for congress. The idea that placing these burdons on public employees is wrong on so many levels. These guys are just pandering for votes.

  4. sally Says:
    February 8th, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    As a FERS retiree with 11 yrs with the Federal Gov’t and a former Human Resoures employee I can tell you that FERS employees only contributed .08% of their salary to their FERS accounts when I left in 1996. I don’t know if that ahs changed since. They do pay into social security. As a Nevada State employee 12.25% of my salary goes into my retirement account. That is up considerably from what I paid when I started here 16 yrs ago. NV State employees don’t pay into social security. Civil service employees should to contributing more to their own retirement accounts. As for the social security bridge payment, no private sector employee gets that. If they can’t live on their company’s retirement and other sources of income without the social security benefit they don’t retire. Why should civil service employees be any different? You have the option of setting up a Thrift Saving account as the 3rd leg of your retirement plan; if you’re serious about having a good retirement you should be taking full advantage of the option.

  5. Robert Benson Says:
    February 8th, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    Terminating the supplement is, plain and simple, a repudiation of a long standing agreement. This duplicitous act is quite costly to long-term employees who have been planning on the supplement they were promised. Just as Chris says, he and countless others will be forced to work years longer because of this treachery.

    To get an accurate calculation of your 2012 supplement, go to fedbens.us and click no. 9 on the menu.

  6. MIke D Says:
    February 8th, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    In the word’s of Ronald Reagan, “Well, there he goes again”………….Ross should have been tossed out of office long ago. Election time is soon a’coming, lest he forget!

  7. Christian Says:
    February 9th, 2012 at 8:03 am

    I understand that you support the idea of not giving government employees a cost of living allowance raise this year. While we have had our COLA raises frozen for the past two years. Also now you want to cut pension funding for new hires and make it so that I have to contribute more to my pension. Even though my TSP (government run 401k) took a huge hit and I will already be feeling the effects of that loss for years.
    I am a Border Patrol Agent working in Texas. I would like you to know that I am a very hard working employee. I seized more that 1 million dollars of narcotics in 2011. I had to wrestle a man while being entangled in barbwire that was smuggling 1 pound of cocaine into this country. In January I had to share my work space with a woman that we arrested that later admitted to having tuberculosis. I feel I work hard to serve my country I have given up a lot to do so. I moved my family across the country 2300 miles from my home to work in the Border Patrol. I moved into a city where the public hates me for my profession and label me a racist cause I do my job. I missed the last few months of my father’s life because I was assigned to a station far away from my family. I ask you is it fair to me to keep asking me to sacrifice and to give up what I earned by the sweat of my brow so that it can appear that government is trying to do something. I feel that these cuts are drop in the bucket compared to the real problem
    I know the country is in trouble and some things have to change. But America does not right it self by reaching into the pockets of it’s middle and lower class and steal their promised pensions. I earned every penny of my pension please stop trying to steal my pay and my retirement. America is better than that.

  8. Glenn Says:
    February 14th, 2012 at 10:16 am

    If Mr. Ross wants to slash pensions, he needs to start with his own, and the rest of congress.
    Where can I contribute to Ross’ opponent’s campaign?

  9. John Says:
    February 15th, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    Currently we federal workers pay 0.8 percent of our base into the pension. They will be raising it to 2.3%. That amounts to a 1.5% pay cut. Call it what you want but thats what it is and btw…the beneift from your pension will stay the same and not go up. Hopefully it wont drop.

    Maybe in 2013…we can at least get some small form of wage increase. Even if its 0.5% to soften the blow of the 1.5% pay cut thats coming up.

    I am a conservative and have always voted republican. But…I see where we are heading as a nation. They are going to use us federal wokers as a pucnhing bag for years to come. We will become the lower class as inflation takes over. Then…we will be elligible for the ebt cards and such. By that time…us have nots will outweigh the haves by a lvery large margin. Then…in order to survive and due to increasing anger….more and more people will vote for the socialist liberals which give the hand outs and tax the rich. It will be the rich man that then has to pick up the tab as the president and the congress will all be socialists that the hell out of the rich. 50%…60%…70% tax rates. And then if thats not enough….a welth tax will be imposed. Then when there is no more rich man….it will be over as we know it for the dollar and the greatest country the world has ever known….will have to start over. Its inevitable folks….where am I wrong?

  10. John Says:
    February 15th, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    Sorry about my oversight….looks like they will be reducing the pension as well as making us contribute the extra 1.5 % into it. Wonderful!