A bill that would increase the amount federal employees pay toward their pensions and steeply cut the pensions of future federal employees is continuing to work its way through the House. The House Rules Committee is scheduled to consider HR 3813, the Securing Annuities for Federal Employees Act, at a 5 p.m. meeting today, where it could be amended.
The committee’s approval is the final step before it heads to the House floor. Fred Piccolo, the chief of staff for bill sponsor Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., said it’s unclear when debate on the bill will begin, but said it could happen sometime this week.
But that’s where things get dicey. Last week House Republican leaders rolled the SAFE Act into HR 7, a massive surface transportation bill, to cover that bill’s costs. But House Democrats are united against the bill, and the GOP is facing revolts from conservatives and moderates alike.
Ross is not at all happy his pension bill was attached to the transportation bill, which he plans to vote against. Piccolo said Ross feels any cuts to federal retirement should go to deficit reduction and that it’s wrong to use those cuts to pay for other spending priorities. (That may be the one thing Ross and federal unions agree on.)
So House Republican leaders this morning broke the transportation bill back up into its component pieces, which they hope to pass separately and then later recombine. But that still doesn’t resolve rebellious Republican’s problems with the transportation bill, and HR 7 remains in serious trouble.
However, the SAFE Act may have a better chance of getting passed now that it isn’t lashed to that sinking ship of a transportation bill. Stay tuned.