Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., today introduced his promised bill to cancel lawmakers’ future defined benefit pensions. HR 2913 wouldn’t touch any pension benefits accrued before its passage — or Social Security or Thrift Savings Plan benefits — but going forward, no current lawmaker would be able to add to the value of his pension, and future new lawmakers would get no pension whatsoever.
Coffman said that lawmakers who ask others to sacrifice must shoulder some of the burden:
These are extremely difficult economic times and we are in a debt crisis that will require sacrifices on the part of all Americans. Congress needs to set an example for the country and I believe that ending our pension plan would be a good start.
The National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association opposes Coffman’s bill, and worries it could be the first step on a “slippery slope” towards doing away with rank-and-file feds’ pensions.
Lawmakers receive better benefits than federal employees, as we detailed Monday in this story.
Here’s something you don’t see every day: A congressman taking a swipe at his own retirement benefits.
Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., today announced that he will introduce a bill when Congress returns that does away with lawmakers’ future defined benefit pension plan. The bill wouldn’t touch any pension benefits accrued before its passage — or their Social Security and Thrift Savings Plan benefits — but going forward, no current lawmaker would add to the value of his pension, and future lawmakers would get no pension whatsoever.
Coffman in January introduced a bill requiring most federal civilian employees to take a two-week, non-consecutive furlough. He has not proposed doing away with feds’ defined benefit pension (Sens. Tom Coburn and Richard Burr have, however).
In a statement, Coffman said lawmakers who ask others to sacrifice in this economic environment also have to take some of the pain:
I’m a Marine Corps combat veteran and I was taught that you should never ask others to do anything that you would be unwilling to do. These are extremely difficult economic times and Congress needs to set an example and lead the way for the country. I think this is a good start.
Lawmakers pay more into their FERS and CSRS plans than federal employees do, but also receive higher benefits. Lawmakers under FERS pay 1.3 percent of their salaries into the pension plan, as well as contribute to Social Security and their own TSP accounts. After serving five years, they are eligible to get 1.7 percent of their salaries for every year up to 20 that they served in Congress, and 1 percent for every year after 20.
Tags: Mike Coffman