White House proposes deep cuts to federal benefits

The White House renewed pushes to cut federal retirement benefits and pay, move away from the general schedule and transfer workforce functions away from the government's central personnel agency.

shutterstock workforce hands
 

With the release of the fiscal year 2020 budget request, the administration renewed its pushes to cut federal retirement benefits and pay, move away from the general schedule and transfer workforce functions away from the government's central personnel agency.

The White House's latest budget proposed similar cuts to the FY 2019 version, targeting retirement benefits and freezing federal pay.

Proposed retirement cuts include eliminating cost-of-living adjustments for Federal Employee Retirement System retirees, eliminating the special retirement supplement, recalculating the pension formula from the average of an employee's three highest salary years to the five highest, increasing employee retirement contributions by one percent per year and reducing the G Fund interest rate.

The administration expects these changes to reduce spending by about $5.4 billion in fiscal year 2020 and -- combined with cuts to the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program -- almost $179 billion over 10 years.

Bill Valdez, president of the Senior Executives Association, said the proposed cuts and pay freeze would make it harder for government to recruit and retain employees and limit agencies' abilities to carry out their mission.

"On the heels of the longest government shutdown in history, which deeply damaged the government's brand as an employer, this budget sends all the wrong signals to Americans considering jobs serving their country in federal public service," he said.

Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, called the budget "essentially a blueprint for how to ruin the civil service."

"Clearly the administration learned nothing from the disastrous 35-day shutdown," he said.

As part of its reorganization proposal, the budget lists this series of benefits cuts under the General Services Administration, rather than the Office of Personnel Management.

In the budget, the White House again proposes an OPM overhaul that includes moving OPM's background investigation work to the Department of Defense, policy and strategic function to the White House and transferring "all remaining functions" to the General Services Administration.

Those functions include human resources solutions, retirement services, healthcare and insurance, Office of Inspector General, and merit system accountability and compliance organizations. The Trump administration is looking to push on planning and initial implementation of the OPM-GSA merger in 2019.

Many of the White House's workforce and structural proposals were shot down on the Hill last year, and some of the proposals, particularly those that cut the workforce and benefits, will be more difficult to pass a divided Congress.

The proposed civilian pay freeze for fiscal year 2019 was overturned, and Congress passed a 1.9 percent raise. However, President Donald Trump has yet to issue an executive order to implement the increase. The White House also proposed a $1 billion workforce fund for managers to award workers outside of the typical pay structure, but it was not included in Congress's fiscal year 2019 appropriations.

The proposed merger of OPM and GSA didn't gain much traction in the legislative branch, but that could change.

Robert Shea, a former Office of Management and Budget executive who is now a principal with Grant Thornton, said he was "feeling optimistic that they will get congressional approval" for the merger. "There doesn't appear to be the backlash that I might have expected," he said.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.