House Budget Plan Has Familiar Look

The House Budget Committee has unveiled a plan for the upcoming fiscal year that once again seeks to reduce the federal workforce by attrition and increase required contributions toward retirement, among other familiar provisions. The plan still must go through the full committee and then to a House vote — and then likely will go no farther. The Senate doesn’t plan to produce a counterpart, arguing that a budget deal reached last December provides sufficient guidance for specific spending bills for the budget year starting October 1. The House plan does however amount to staking out positions on issues, including recommendations to: raise the employee share toward retirement benefits while decreasing the government share so that they become equal, which would mean about a 5.5 percentage point increase in the employee share; allow for filling only one of three vacancies, with an exception for national security jobs, until the workforce is reduced by 10 percent; eliminating the student loan reimbursement program; and ending the FERS “special retirement supplement” for those who retire before age 62, for future retirees. The plan contains no provisions regarding premium sharing in the FEHB program nor does it endorse switching to the less-generous “chained” CPI in federal retirement and other inflation-adjusted programs—likely meaning that those issues are off the table for the year.

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