GOP Bill Aims To Make Major Changes To Federal Retirement and FERS Systems
Former House of Representatives speaker Rep. Thomas “Tip” O’Neill was once quoted of saying, “all politics is local.”
If that statement is true, then the different proposals affecting the federal retirement benefits of current and future postal and federal workers and retirees could be eliminated as House members consider what the changes could mean to their districts.
While the bill has been deemed a GOP bill, it does not come from the House or the White House. However, that has not stopped nine Republicans and the House Democrats from distancing themselves from the plan that would make federal workers pay more into their retirement to get small lifetime annuities or pensions.
Major Changes to Federal Retirement Being Considered:
- A 6% increase in how much working federal employees put into the Federal Employees Retirement System
- No cost-of-living adjustments for the FERS retirees
- A decrease in COLA protection for both present and future CSRS retirees
- The abolishment of the FERS annuity supplement for workers who quit working (retire) before they are Social Security eligible
It is the last idea that is a slap in the face to federal employees in the most dangerous and high-stress jobs – air traffic controllers, federal firefighters, law enforcement, etc. These jobs often have mandatory retirement age restrictions that are under 62.
Many GOP legislators alluded to both ethical and moral reasons to oppose a cut to any federal retirement benefit, saying it was a breach of contract between those who signed up to serve the government and Uncle Sam. The reality is that politicians answer to the people, who vote for their services every two years. Washington, D.C. is full of rule-making bureaucrats, but just 14 out of every 100 federal workers lives in the area. Most feds and active retirees who also vote live outside the Beltway. This is the reality.
Even if one doesn’t work for the Armed Services, Department of Interior or the Internal Revenue Service, the chances of them working for a firm that needs those bi-weekly incomes and once-a-month annuity deposits are high. An essential Dayton, Ohio employer is Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Huntsville, Alabama is often called mini-D.C. and other places around the country are comprised of former feds where the passage of any proposals affecting retirement, annuity and inflation could be detrimental.
It would be difficult to find a location that the federal government didn’t have a presence. After all, there’s a VA center or hospital, a federal prison or a naval facility that could generate billions of dollars into the local economy.
The reality is that an active-duty civil servant or retiring person should be concerned. With one party controlling the White House, Senate and House of Representatives, things should be easy. It is until you realize what’s going on.
Some Congress members are safe in their districts because it’s the state legislatures that produced districts where politicians vote for whom they want – not the people of that district. And, here soon, there will be a plethora of districts up for grabs. The party that has gained control of the White House often loses congressional seats during the first election after its taken power.
Congress is well-known for its scare tactics, and this appears to be one of those moments. However, there’s a saying “don’t poke a sleeping bear” as well as its friends. You may get what you’re wanting.