Key congressional negotiators have just signed off on a conference report to extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance, and there’s an unexpected surprise in there. New members of Congress would no longer get a cushy pension, and would instead get the same annuity as rank-and-file federal employees, according to Ali Ahmad, who is a spokesman for Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif.
Feds under the Federal Employees Retirement System have their pension calculated at either 1 percent or 1.1 percent, depending on their age. But lawmakers under FERS have their pension calculated at 1.7 percent. That, when combined with their much higher salaries, means lawmakers’ pensions are often more than twice those enjoyed by everyday feds.
Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., who is one of Issa’s deputies, has been pushing to eliminate Congress’ pension perk for some time now. If it passes, this would amount to a big win for him.
The deal also would make new federal employees pay 3.1 percent toward their pensions, instead of the current 0.8 percent. And that element isn’t just upsetting federal unions. Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., called the deal “unacceptable” and said he will vote against it. “We must stop targeting these hardworking men and women while not asking others to contribute their fair share,” Hoyer said.
UPDATE: Ross is from Florida, not California.