Updated 12/11/13: The budget deal announced yesterday will impact only newly hired Feds (those who come on board in 2014 or later) and will result in their pension contributions being raised to 4.4% of their salary. This will purportedly save $6 billion over the next ten years. Current employees will not be impacted by this deal. The original proposal was for all federal employees to increase their contribution, but sustained lobbying by federal employee organizations and individuals clearly had an impact on the shape of the final agreement.
As of today, the question is not whether Congress will cut your pay this week as part of the budget deal, but by how much. This is slightly out of the very narrow focus to which I try to limit the website and email updates, but will have a major impact on the incomes of every currently serving federal employee and isn’t getting a lot of attention. If you are retired or one of our DoD colleagues, this doesn’t impact you (although they will probably be coming for some of your benefits next).
They won’t come right out and say that they are cutting your pay, instead they are calling it “increased pension contributions.” Whatever name they give it, the end result is you will likely receive thousands less in pay each year and not receive anything in return. That sounds like a pay cut to me.
Proposals range from a low end of 1.2% (President Obama’s recommendation) to 5.5% (Rep. Paul Ryan’s number), phased in over three years. For the average Fed (who makes approximately $78,500) that would result in between $1000 to $4300 less in their paycheck per year.
To add insult to injury, nobody else is sharing the burden. Nobody. The “savings and revenue” they are coming up with for this budget deal consists entirely of cutting our benefits, higher security fees for airline passengers, and auctioning off some wireless communications spectrum. That’s it.
They want to vote on their budget plan by Friday of this week so they can leave DC for their long Christmas holiday that afternoon. You know, like when they let us go home two hours early on Christmas Eve. Except they go home two weeks early. And stay home until the second week in January.
What can you do to stop this? Call your Congressman and Senator today and tell them how you feel about them cutting your pay after all the other abuses you have suffered over the past few years with pay freezes, furloughs, sequester and the shutdown. Tell them if they vote for any budget deal which lowers federal employee’s pay, you will support whoever challenges them in the next election.
My understanding is that the public affairs types on Capitol Hill believe that every seven calls on an issue represent 1000 constituents who feel the same way. So call now and encourage your colleagues and friends to do the same. Don’t be shy about calling – they have huge staffs which you are paying for who are there just to take calls from constituents and pass the message on to their bosses. It probably wouldn’t hurt to call the White House and share your feelings with the folks there too.
To find your representative’s contact information, go to:
Please spread the word.