Lawmakers Push to Repeal Feds' Pension Contribution Hikes

Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md., is leading efforts to roll back the increases. Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md., is leading efforts to roll back the increases. House Committee on Education and the Workforce

This story has been updated. 

A new bill would walk back recent retirement pension contribution hikes for new federal employees.

The legislation -- introduced by Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md., with 10 Democratic cosponsors -- would repeal two separate increases in the amount federal workers must pay toward their pensions, enacted to address deficit concerns. A 2012 law to extend unemployment insurance forced employees hired in 2013 and those with less than five years of federal experience to pay an additional 2.3 percent of each paycheck, for a total of 3.1 percent, toward their defined benefit. The 2013 budget agreement required all employees hired after 2013 and with less than five years of federal experience to pay a total of 4.4 percent of their salaries toward their Federal Employees Retirement System accounts.

Employees hired before 2013 contribute just 0.8 percent of their pay to their pensions. Edwards introduced similar legislation last year, but it never gained any traction. The measure would offset the costs of the effective pay raise by closing tax loopholes for businesses incorporated overseas.

Ewards called federal employees the “backbone” of the government, and said they have sacrificed enough already.

“Enough is enough,” she said. “It is our duty to ensure the fair treatment of the federal employees who have served our nation so well, especially during times of economic strain. We must stop saddling our federal workers with such disproportionate burden, and start asking wealthy corporations to pay their fair share. I look forward to the opportunity to work with my colleagues in Congress to pass this bill that would bring needed relief to those who work tirelessly to keep us safe and our government running.”

Federal employee groups were quick to praise her latest effort.

“Federal employees hired beginning in 2014 are paying five and a half times more toward their retirement than employees hired just two years earlier, while those hired in 2013 are paying four times more,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said. “This is a major financial burden on these employees and it’s time for Congress to do the right thing and roll back these unfair increases.”

Cox noted an employee hired today making $48,000 per year would earn $1,700 less annually than an employee in the same position hired in 2012. 

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