Budget

Congress passes budget plan without steep cuts to federal retirement plans

Shutterstock image. 

The House narrowly approved a budget blueprint that omitted billions in cuts to federal retirement benefits initially sought by conservatives on Capitol Hill. Instead, the House set the stage for a planned tax cut bill by passing the Senate's budget resolution on a  216 to 212 vote, with a handful of Republicans opposing the measure.

The Senate's version directs the Finance Committee to propose $1.5 trillion "for comprehensive tax reform" and the Energy and Natural Resources Committee to propose $1 billion "in deficit reduction."

Democrats on the House Budget Committee estimated the total cuts to federal compensation and retirement benefits included in the House's original resolution would have totaled at least $163 billion over 10 years.

The White House budget proposal outlined $6.5 billion in savings in fiscal year 2018 alone by reducing federal retirement benefits.

In a statement, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said President Donald Trump applauded the House's passage of the budget. Sanders added that the vote sets the stage "for tax cuts and tax reform" and for "simplifying the rigged and burdensome tax code."

Tony Reardon, national president of the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents 150,000 employees across 31 agencies, said he was "pleased that the final 2018 budget resolution does not include instructions... in the earlier House-approved version that put a $32 billion target on federal employee benefits."

"As Congress takes up spending bills for the remainder of fiscal year 2018, NTEU will strongly oppose any proposal that would reduce the paychecks or pensions of former, current and future federal employees." Reardon said.

The American Federation of Government Employees, which is the largest federal union and represents about 700,000 employees, blasted the vote.

"While this budget resolution does not include the severe cuts to federal workers' wages and benefits that were called for in the original House bill, this is no time to celebrate," said AFGE National President J. David Cox. "In voting for this irresponsible budget resolution, lawmakers have gone on record supporting a plan that raises taxes on middle-class workers, cuts services largely benefiting lower income Americans, and delivers huge tax cuts to the top 1 percent -- all while increasing the nation's deficit."

About the Author

Chase Gunter is a staff writer covering civilian agencies, workforce issues, health IT, open data and innovation.

Prior to joining FCW, Gunter reported for the C-Ville Weekly in Charlottesville, Va., and served as a college sports beat writer for the South Boston (Va.) News and Record. He started at FCW as an editorial fellow before joining the team full-time as a reporter.

Gunter is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where his emphases were English, history and media studies.

Click here for previous articles by Gunter, or connect with him on Twitter: @WChaseGunter

Featured

  • Cybersecurity

    DHS floats 'collective defense' model for cybersecurity

    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen wants her department to have a more direct role in defending the private sector and critical infrastructure entities from cyberthreats.

  • Defense
    Defense Secretary James Mattis testifies at an April 12 hearing of the House Armed Services Committee.

    Mattis: Cloud deal not tailored for Amazon

    On Capitol Hill, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sought to quell "rumors" that the Pentagon's planned single-award cloud acquisition was designed with Amazon Web Services in mind.

  • Census
    shutterstock image

    2020 Census to include citizenship question

    The Department of Commerce is breaking with recent practice and restoring a question about respondent citizenship last used in 1950, despite being urged not to by former Census directors and outside experts.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.