The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

Z_CNHI News Service

December 11, 2013

Federal budget deal would have new hires pay more into pensions

WASHINGTON — Federal employees hired after Jan. 1 will make higher contributions toward their retirement benefits than current workers under a budget deal announced Tuesday night.

Under the agreement reached by the Budget Conference Committee, the new workers would pay an additional 1.3 percent of salary toward retirement, saving the government $6 billion over 10 years.

While federal employee unions strongly pushed against any additional payments from the workforce, the agreement is a much better deal for them than what Republicans and even President Barack Obama had proposed.

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., chairman of the House Budget Committee, wanted federal employees to pay an additional 5.5 percent toward retirement, or $130 billion over 10 years. Obama's proposal was for a 1.2 percent increase for all federal employees, yielding $20 billion from workers.

"This has been a brawl over the last 48 hours," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., a member of the conference committee whose district is heavy with federal workers. "This agreement will not require additional contributions by any current federal employees."

The agreement would create a three-tier system for employee contributions to their civil service pensions. Those hired before this year pay 0.8 percent of their salary, those hired in 2013 pay 3.1 percent and those hired after Jan. 1 would pay 4.4 percent under the budget agreement.

Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said she was "disappointed that the budget deal announced today proposes increases to federal employee retirement contributions for new hires; however, I am glad to see the numbers were significantly reduced from original proposals and that these retirement increases will not impact current employees.

"Considering the $114 billion current federal workers have already contributed to deficit reduction, it was the right decision not to ask them to sacrifice again," she said.

Van Hollen said Obama called from Air Force One, while traveling to South Africa for Nelson Mandela's funeral, to assure the congressman that the administration would not advance additional pension contributions from federal employees in its next budget proposal.

The budget agreement also would lower the compensation level the government pays to some outside contractors.

The compensation level, determined by a statutory formula, is now set at $952,308. The agreement, according to Van Hollen's office, would bring it down to $487,000.

Van Hollen said non-defense agencies would have $22.5 billion more in fiscal year 2014 than 2013, while the Pentagon will get $2 billion more.

"This should avoid furloughs in the coming year," he said.

The agreement has some good and some bad, he added, but on balance "it's a good step forward for the country."

Joseph Beaudoin, president of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, said: "This deal continues with the dangerous precedent set by Congress last year in taking from future federal employees to pay for bad policies and deficit reduction now. . . . This drain on our nation's federal workforce must end. The federal government may never be the employer with the greatest pay and benefits, but it certainly shouldn't be the employer of last resort either, and that's where we are headed."

1
Text Only
Z_CNHI News Service
  • Screen shot 2014-04-18 at 4.44.15 PM.png Paint, doodle and sketch: 3 apps for art lovers

    In the absence of a palette of watercolors and a sketchpad, these three apps can fill in as your art supplies of choice.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Smartphone kill switches are coming

    Smartphones need kill switches. It's a relatively easy solution to the pricey (and irritating) problem of smartphone theft. But who would have thought that the big carriers would team up with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and lots of other manufacturers to voluntarily begin adding the technology by July 2015? The cooperative spirit! It makes so much sense!

    April 18, 2014

  • Why do wolves howl?

    Of all the myths that dog the wolf, none is more widely accepted than the idea that wolves howl at the moon. Images of wolves with their heads upturned, singing at the night sky, are as unquestioned as a goldfish's three-second memory or a dog's color-blindness (both also myths).

    April 18, 2014

  • Biggest student loan profits come from grad students

    This week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the federal government would earn roughly $127 billion from student lending during the next 10 years.

    April 18, 2014

  • quake.jpg Pennsylvania won’t take action following Ohio ruling on quakes, fracking

    Pennsylvania officials plan no action despite new Ohio rules on drilling that affect a seismically active area near the state line.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Warren's populist pitch on student loans is off key

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren's populist rhetoric pumps up students about their loan burdens, but she conveniently neglects to mention the real problem - the exorbitant cost of college - much less how she's benefitted from those high prices.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • VIDEO: Boston bomb scare defendant appears in court

    The man accused of carrying a backpack containing a rice cooker near the Boston Marathon finish line on the anniversary of the bombings was arraigned Wednesday. He's being held on $100,000 bail.

    April 17, 2014

  • Consumer spending on health care jumps as Affordable Care Act takes hold

    Nancy Beigel has known since September that she would need hernia surgery. She couldn't afford it on her $11,000 yearly income until she became eligible for Medicaid in January through President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

    April 17, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Golf turns into snooze-fest without celebrities like Tiger and Phil

    The Masters lumbered on last week without two of pro golf's biggest names, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, and fans changed the channel. The PGA needs someone with star power if it's going to lure people back to the game.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • The case for separate beds

    The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 17, 2014

Featured Ads
Promotions
Poll

What's your favorite spring high school sport?

Swimming and diving
Wrestling
Basketball
Soccer
Tennis
Golf
Track and Field
Softball
Baseball
     View Results
Facebook
Must Read
Photos


See more photos and purchase prints here.

AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide