A new bill in the House proposes ending the pension benefit that members of Congress are currently eligible for after five years of service.
Sponsored by Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., H.R. 423 would eliminate defined-benefit pension plans for members of Congress, keeping only the “right to continue participating in the Thrift Savings Plan.” In a statement released on Jan. 24, Coffman said he submitted the bill to encourage members of Congress to “share in the sacrifice” during hard economic times and “lead by example.”
“It makes no sense for Congress to continue to reward itself, using taxpayer dollars, with a defined benefit plan when much of the country has moved to a defined contribution plan like a 401K,” Coffman wrote in a statement.
Nearly one in six former lawmakers were earning six-figure annual pensions, according to an analysis Federal Times published last year. Rep. Jared Polis D-Colo., one of the bill’s co-sponsors, said the time has come to end this perk.
“Members of Congress shouldn’t get pensions in perpetuity at a time when American families are struggling and the nation’s deficit is far too high,” Polis wrote.Targeting congressional pay and benefits has become a tactic in the ongoing budget battles in Washington. The House recently passed a “no budget, no pay” bill designed to encourage the legislature to resolve the debt ceiling and work toward a comprehensive budget plan.