Retirement Cuts on Table

Federal unions and managers' associations are concerned that President Clinton is set to propose $10 billion in benefit cuts for federal retirees for the second consecutive year.

The employees' groups have been lobbying for several weeks to persuade the White House to drop provisions in its draft fiscal 1998 budget that would require agencies and employees to contribute more to the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund and would delay federal retirees' cost-of-living adjustments by several months each year.

Last year, Clinton proposed $10 billion in savings from retirement programs as part of his balanced-budget package. But Congress was unwilling to take on the issue in an election year. In 1995, Rep. John Mica, R-Fl., chairman of the House Government Reform and Oversight Subcommittee on the Civil Service, proposed a plan to require federal employees to contribute 2.5 percent more per pay check toward the retirement fund while simultaneously reducing benefits by up to 4 percent. The idea didn't fly.

This year, Congressional Quarterly recently reported, House Republicans intend to leave federal retirement programs alone in their budget plans.

In a letter to President Clinton, Federal Managers Association President Michael Styles urged him not to cut benefits.

"News reports indicate that GOP leaders of the House and Senate budget committees do not currently have the $10 billion package of federal retirement cuts in their draft budget plans," Styles wrote. "In the spirit of bipartisan cooperation, FMA urges you likewise to remove federal retirement cuts from your budget."

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