Feds’ Tension Over Possible Pension Changes Escalates

Feds’ Tension Over Possible Pension Changes Escalates

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md.
Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md. Carolyn Kaster/AP

Federal employees will find out this week — as soon as Tuesday — whether budget negotiators plan to push for changes to their pension benefits as part of a deal to offset some of the sequester spending cuts.

The congressional budget conference committee led by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., has until Dec. 13 to present its recommendations for rolling back the automatic spending cuts and extending the continuing resolution funding the government through Jan. 15, 2014. A “small” deal, rather than a grand bargain over tax and entitlement reforms, is expected; the panel is considering requiring federal employees to contribute 1.2 percent more to their pensions, which would save about $20 billion over 10 years, according to the White House and the Congressional Budget Office. The committee reportedly would use those savings to help pay for a partial repeal of the sequester. Continue reading “Feds’ Tension Over Possible Pension Changes Escalates”

Federal employee advocates: No pension hikes in budget deal

Federal employee advocates: No pension hikes in budget deal

As closed-door congressional budget talks appear likely to drag into the weekend, federal workforce groups are warily watching for signals that a deal on a 2014 spending bill could entail higher employee pension contributions.

“I would take them very seriously,” said Bruce Moyer, counsel for the Federal-Postal Coalition, made up of some 31 unions and other organizations. Although influential Democratic lawmakers like House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland oppose any cuts to federal pay and benefits, “we take no final solace in the support that our champions have provided in the past,” Moyer said. Continue reading “Federal employee advocates: No pension hikes in budget deal”

Cardin expresses outrage over fed worker cuts

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., on Capitol Hill.
Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., on Capitol Hill. (Getty Images )
December 06, 2013|By John Fritze | The Baltimore Sun

Sen. Ben Cardin sent a letter to Democratic Senate leaders Thursday (December 06, 2013 Senator Cardin Letter to Senator Reid re Budget Agreement Federal Workers) expressing outrage over reports that a budget deal developing in Congress may include further cuts to the federal workforce — the latest member of Maryland’s delegation to push back on the possibilities of those cuts.

Lawmakers in states with a high concentration of federal employees are reacting to rumors that negotiators are considering a 5.5 percentage point increase in how much federal employees would contribute toward retirement plans. Maryland is home to some 300,000 federal workers. Continue reading “Cardin expresses outrage over fed worker cuts”

Budget deal allows for January federal pay raise

Budget deal allows for January federal pay raise

(J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

(J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

The budget measure that ended the partial government shutdown allows for a 1 percent raise for federal employees in January in addition to providing back pay for those furloughed, according to two Democratic Maryland senators.

“The promise of a modest pay raise and back pay for furloughed government employees are good first steps in recognizing the value of federal workers,” said Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee in a joint statement with Sen. Ben Cardin.

“I’m proud we were able to fulfill our promise to make them whole again with back pay and finally break through the pay freeze with a modest adjustment for next year,” said Cardin, a member of the Senate Finance Committee. Continue reading “Budget deal allows for January federal pay raise”

Back Pay Bill in Senate Limbo

Back Pay Bill in Senate Limbo

Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, told reporters on Monday that it would be “premature” to consider a back pay bill.
Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, told reporters on Monday that it would be “premature” to consider a back pay bill. J. Scott Applewhite/AP

This story has been updated.

The Senate hasn’t taken any action yet on legislation that would give back pay to federal employees furloughed during the government shutdown.

While the bill enjoys broad support in the upper chamber, several Republicans reportedly oppose the legislation’s swift passage through procedural shortcuts, such as a voice vote or unanimous consent agreement, and want the opportunity to offer amendments.

The House on Saturday unanimously passed a bill that would grant retroactive pay to employees forced to take unpaid leave during the government shutdown, now in its eighth day. President Obama has said he would sign the legislation into law if Congress approves it. Continue reading “Back Pay Bill in Senate Limbo”