The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee this evening passed a bill cutting federal pensions on a party-line vote. HR 3813, the Securing Annuities for Federal Employees Act, would raise the amounts federal employees contribute to their pensions by 1.5 percentage points, eliminate the Federal Employees Retirement System supplement for retirees who aren’t yet eligible for Social Security, and drastically cut pensions for future federal retirees. Read more about the bill here.
Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., the bill’s sponsor, said federal pensions are too expensive for the cash-strapped government to continue to cover. But Democrats unanimously blasted Republicans for treating feds like a “piggy bank,” in the words of Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md. They say the GOP is asking federal employees to sacrifice their pensions to alleviate the deficit, while refusing to even consider raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans.
And Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., was the most vehement denouncer of the bill. He called it “a new low” for the House GOP, and said Republicans may be close to sadism. Said Connolly:
One has to wonder when the House Republican leadership crosses the line from political opportunism to sadism in its relentless assault on public servants. Do some derive pleasure from denigrating and, with this bill, impoverishing the patriots who volunteer to serve their country?
Ross dismissed accusations that Republicans aimed to trash feds. “It is not at all a swipe at anybody,” Ross said. “There is no vilification going on.”
But as the bill goes to the full House, the rhetoric is clearly heating up. Stay tuned for more information on this bill tomorrow.