The Republican Study Committee recently unveiled its yearly budget proposal – A Framework for Unified Conservatism – for the 2019 fiscal year. The proposal mirrors many recent Trump Administration and other legislative proposals to diminish the pay and benefits of federal employees.
The budget proposal’s primary goal is to reduce spending by over $12 million over the course of 10 years. The federal workforce makes up just a minute amount of the suggested spending reductions, but the proposal does lay out the need to decrease spending in most areas of the federal government to halt the national debt from rising even further.
When it comes to increasing debt and controlling deficits, the only surefire way to handle them is to curb the spending. And, without some type of action now, an unstoppable debt spiral is inevitable, and a debt crisis will ensure. History has shown that countries that have gone bankrupt don’t last much longer.
The budget put forth by the Republican Study Committee is its ways to bring prosperity back to the American people. However, each day that goes by makes choices even more difficult and action must be taken.
What Does The Budget Proposal Target?
Here’s a look at some of the important points of the RSC’s budget proposal as it relates to the federal workforce.
Reductions In Pay and Benefits
The goal is to reduce the yearly across-the-board modification to federal civilian employees pay. According to the budget, the rapidly increasing federal government debt is in a state of financial emergency, which calls for the need to halt the automatic pay raises the Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act of 1990 allows for.
The RSC budget notes a president can restrict the increase’s size if warranted by an existing national emergency. As the proposal lays out, the rapidly growing national debt is an existing national emergency. Former PresidentBarack Obama put forth legislation that halted pay increases from 2011 to 2013. Still, the national debt rose to more than $21 trillion, and it’s expected to hit more than $34 trillion in the next 10years.
The RSC budget suggests federal workers get a half a percentage less than the anticipated amount in the yearly increase.
To justify their proposal, the RSC committee said most Americans do not see any kind of automatic pay increase and the Congressional Budget Office said federal employees are compensated17 percent more than private industry employees.
Reasonable Bonus Limits
Another proposal set forth by the RSC budget includes enacting reasonable bonus limits that federal workers are paid. Although the suggestion was made, there was no outline of what is or is not reasonable.
The support given in this area of the proposal was due to the Federal Employee Bonus Disclosure Act enacted by South Carolina. This act deems that the reporting of all federal worker bonuses be made public, and agencies would have to make reports for Congress to review.
Reforming Pension Plan
The budget proposal also looks to reform the pension plans of federal employees, which include the following five:
- Pension calculation is determined on five highest years rather than the current three-year highest.
- Employee contributions shares to FERS must increase over time, aligning with the private industry.
- The cost of living adjustment for both CSRS and FERS needs to be done away with or decreased.
- Get rid of the Special Retirement Supplement.
- Decrease the G Fund’s interest rate for a better reflection of the temporary T-bill rate.
The budget also proposed that all – new and current – federal workers add more money to their retirement; not just new federal workers. According to the Middle-ClassTax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, just newly employed federal workers were ordered to pay higher contributions, but the proposal wants to balance out the treatment to everybody in the federal workforce.
Reforming The Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB)
According to the RSC budget, 30 percent of the premiums are paid by federal workers under the FEHB program while the other 70 percent is addressed by the government. Since the ratio isn’t changed throughout coverage ratios, federal workers often get the most expensive plan, but it’s the taxpayers paying for it.
A way to alleviate that problem is to modify the premium support system where the government offers a standard federal contribution toward health insurance and employees would pay the rest. According to the proposal, the option lets employees buy plans with the right amount of coverage that will fit their present needs.
The suggestion was made that the government decrease the amount it pays on premiums to align more with the private section but gave no percentage specifics other than the much less than 70 percent it currently pays out.
Make Firing Federal Employees Much Easier
The RSC proposal wants to include more legislation on a current one affecting the employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs. They want to include legislation that helps the VA secretary to suspend, demote or remove any VA employee not performing well in their job. This would cause federal employees to labeled “at-will employees” rather than the Congressional Staff they are right now.
This idea was initially brought to light by Indiana Republican Congressman Todd Rokita. The bill would let agency heads suspend or fire without any notice or right to appeal federal workers. The firing could be done for good reason, bad reason or no reason at all.
Use Recently Enacted Holman Rule
The budget proposal also suggests Congress use the modernized Holman Rule to get rid of any redundant executive branch positions. What does the budget actually say about the Holman Rule?
The rule lets amendments be added to House appropriations bills in an effort to decrease how much money the bill covers, limit the number of federal workers and decrease federal workers’ salary.
When used appropriately, the rule is a powerful ally for House of Representatives conservatives working with the Trump White House to restructure the federal government, allowing it to become more liable to the American people.
Federal agencies and the president must work together with the House to find redundant executive branch position and ensure House appropriations bills include the provisions of the Holman Rule to weed out positions that are not necessary to the running of the federal government.
Decrease The Federal Workforce Size
According to the budget, it is necessary to reduce the federal workforce size, limit new hires to one employee for every three that are fired, resigned or retired. The president is given the discretion to modify the federal employment when a national emergency arises.
Federal Unions and Union Due Collections
The RSC budget would also prohibit the power federal employee unions had and recommended that automatic union dues deductions be abolished. The budget states that the federal government is a dues collector for federal workers in a union when it the dues are taken out of the employee’s paycheck and then sent to the union. The RSC budget proposes that a federal worker who wants to be a part of the union should pay the union directly and not from the taxpayers.
Get Rid Of Official Time
Information from the RSC budget says that in 2012, taxpayers paid more than $157 million to federal workers for not doing their jobs. These workers, it found, were using official time to do other things. Getting rid of the official time would ensure the federal government workforce would be more efficient and effective.
The legislation also targets official time by reducing future annuity payments of federal employees that use most of that time working with the union.