White House Proposal

 

All current and retired federal employees — regardless of agency — would be negatively impacted by the changes proposed by the White House in its fiscal year 2018 budget released in late May. The threats to the federal workforce are in multiple forms: smaller paychecks, lower pensions, layoffs, cuts to agency budgets, and an overall lack of respect for the nation’s civil service and the work they do. Federal employees and retirees should be concerned about congressional action on the proposed changes to retirement benefits.

 

Attacks on Retirement

 

The White House is pursuing four changes to federal retirement programs:

 

•  raising the amount that current employees have to pay

   toward the Federal Employees Retirement System

   (FERS), which is a pay cut;

 

 

•  basing future retirement benefits on the average of the

   highest five years of salary instead of the current three,

   which is more likely to result in smaller pensions;

   eliminating the FERS supplement for employees

   who retire before they can start collecting Social Security

   at age 62;

 

•  eliminating the cost of living adjustments for all current

   and future retirees covered by FERS; and

 

•  reducing the cost of living adjustments for Civil Service

   Retirement System (CSRS) retirees.

 

Agency Budgets Slashed

 

The budget proposes to “restructure” the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau but without additional details, it is not clear whether restructuring translates into a proposal to eliminate the agency. The administration, however, does attempt to subject CFPB to the regular appropriations process, which would jeopardize the agency’s independence.

 

Paid Parental Leave

 

A potential bright spot in the budget is the $25 billion for a national six-week paid parental leave policy.

 

The Bottom Line

 

Overall, the administration’s budget is considered so divisive and unrealistic that is raises concerns about whether the White House and Congress will be able to reach a spending agreement by Oct. 1, when the new fiscal year begins. Without it, a government shutdown is possible.

 

 

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