House Approves Increase in Pension Contributions

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The House voted Thursday to pass the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act by a vote of 218-199. The legislation is one that would require additional contributions from federal workers towards their retirement plans.

If enacted, the legislation would require current federal employees to pay five percent more towards their retirement plans beginning in 2013 over the next five years. Federal employees hired in 2013 and beyond would be brought in under the new plan and be paying the extra five percent from the outset of their employment. Members of Congress would have to contribute an additional 8.5 percent to their retirement plans over the same five year period.

The proposed legislation also eliminates a current provision in the law that supplements the benefits of federal workers who are not subject to mandatory retirement, are covered under FERS and who retire before age 62 or the age at which their Social Security benefits can begin. It would apply to employees hired starting in 2013.

However, it is highly unlikely that the legislation would pass the Senate as it’s currently written. The White House is also on record as being opposed to it.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) said in a statement, “Hardworking families deserve leaders who are willing to meet their legal and moral obligation to prioritize spending within a responsible budget. Earlier this year, the House passed a responsible budget. Today, the House passed a series of common-sense reforms that stop the abuse of public-assistance programs, restrain the bureaucracy’s growth, and eliminate wasteful and duplicative spending. The reforms passed today will reduce the deficit by more than 400 percent of the arbitrary sequester cuts they replace.” 

Federal unions came out against the proposal yesterday ahead of the vote in the House, and other groups such as the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) are on record as being against it as well.

NARFE president Joseph A. Beaudoin said in a statement, “It is unconscionable that nearly 30 percent of these savings is coming out of the pockets of federal workers, who individually have already sacrificed thousands of dollars to get our country’s finances back on track. Under this bill, a federal nurse who takes care of our veterans and earns $45,000 a year will have $200 less each month to buy groceries and pay the mortgage. If the House majority is opposed to taxing America’s middle class, they have a funny way of showing it.”

We will continue to keep you updated on any new information about this legislation as it becomes available.

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About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce.