Pay and Benefits Watch: House panel approves TSP changes

By the hair of its chinny-chin-chin, a bill that would allow new federal employees to roll over money from their previous jobs' 401(k) accounts into their Thrift Savings Plan accounts squeaked through the House Government Reform Committee Wednesday. The bill, H.R. 208, would also allow new employees to immediately begin participating in the TSP. Under current rules, new employees have to wait a year before making contributions to the TSP.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Connie Morella, R-Md., met little resistance. Federal employee unions and other members of Congress like the bill, and the Clinton administration endorsed the TSP changes in its fiscal 2000 budget proposal. And at an estimated $14 million over five years (loose change in the context of federal spending), fiscal conservatives could see little to gripe about. Passage seemed certain; the House Government Reform Committee met Wednesday to approve the bill and send it to the House floor.

But at the eleventh hour, a controversy arose over how to cover the costs of the bill.

Morella's plan would have instructed agencies to pay for the TSP changes out of their salary and expenses accounts. But federal unions argued that doing so would force agencies to cut workers.

Susan Shaw, assistant director of legislative affairs at the National Treasury Employees Union, said making agencies cover the costs of the TSP changes out of salary accounts was unfair. She said many pieces of legislation Congress considers do not include such offsets.

"It strikes us as odd that only civil service bills that provide improvements to federal employees' benefits require offsets," Shaw said.

Congressional staffers contended that offsets are standard in bills that affect federal spending, and that the money to pay for better benefits has to come from somewhere. It made sense that the money for improving the TSP benefit would come out of the salary and expenses area, they argued.

At the last moment, congressional staffers and the unions struck a compromise. The $14 million will not be offset from salary accounts, but instead will come from agencies' general operating funds.

If the full House approves the bill and the Senate follows suit, the bill will go into effect on Oct. 1, 2000. At that time, new employees would be able to roll over money into their TSP accounts and begin immediately contributing into the plan.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.