Washington, D.C – More than 100 House members announced their opposition to proposed salary and pension cuts for federal employees in a new letter sent to House leadership and endorsed by the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU).
“No other group of Americans have been asked to sacrifice more for the sake of deficit reduction,” the letter states. “We cannot balance the budget on the backs of the federal workforce, and we should not try.”
The letter was spearheaded by House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, Rep. Jamie Raskin and Rep. Elijah Cummings, all of Maryland, along with Virginia Rep. Gerald Connolly. It was signed by more than 100 others who are concerned about the financial security of federal employees and their families.
“These are highly skilled and dedicated public servants,” they wrote to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). “Taking their pensions away and gutting their pay would have the effect of pushing those skilled people out of the civil service and impairing the recruitment of new talent.”
The administration’s 2018 budget includes proposals for raising the amount that current employees have to pay toward retirement; basing future retirement benefits on the average of the highest five years of salary instead of the current three; eliminating the supplement for employees who retire before they can start collecting Social Security at age 62; eliminating the cost of living adjustments for all current and future retirees covered by the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS); and reducing the cost of living adjustments for Civil Service Retirement System retirees.
The elimination of the FERS supplement would be especially harsh for federal law enforcement officers, firefighters and air traffic controllers who are forced to retire early because of the physical demands of the job, the letter states.
“If enacted into law, these cuts would adversely impact every current, past and future federal employee for the rest of their lives,” said NTEU National President Tony Reardon. “We commend these members of Congress for their strong opposition to yet another attack on the nonpolitical civil servants who have already endured pay freezes, unpaid furloughs and increased retirement contributions.”
The House members say that the cuts amount to a broken promise. “We should not alter policies that families have planned their lives around, particularly when it affects current retirees with limited ability to make up for unforeseen reductions in expected income,” the letter states.
NTEU members around the country are speaking out against the cuts in letters and phone calls to members of Congress.
“Middle class federal employees have already given up $182 billion in benefits since 2010. Asking them to sacrifice even more to finance tax cuts for the wealthy is insulting and mean-spirited,” Reardon said.
NTEU represents 150,000 employees at 31 federal agencies and departments.