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House to vote Thursday on bill to raise feds’ pension contributions

Dec. 20, 2012 - 12:08PM   |  
By STEPHEN LOSEY   |   Comments
The House will vote Thursday on a bill that would effectively cut federal employees' pay by 5 percent to help replace sequestration budget cuts at the Defense Department.
The House will vote Thursday on a bill that would effectively cut federal employees' pay by 5 percent to help replace sequestration budget cuts at the Defense Department. (Karen Bleier / AFP/Getty Images)

The House will vote Thursday on a bill that would effectively cut federal employees’ pay by 5 percent to help replace sequestration budget cuts at the Defense Department.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said that HR 6684, the Spending Reduction Act, would reduce the deficit by about $200 billion more than the original $1.2 trillion in cuts over a decade mandated by sequestration — the automatic budget cuts scheduled to go into effect Jan. 2 if Congress and the White House fail to agree on a deficit-reduction plan. The bill would do so by, among other means, increasing federal employees’ contributions to their pension funds by five percentage points over five years. The bill would also end the Social Security supplement at retirement for federal employees hired beginning in 2013.

“The latest proposal really is a smack in the face to America’s federal employees who have already sacrificed $103 billion for budget savings,” the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association said in an e-mail. The bill “basically amounts to a tax on middle-class American workers.”

The House passed another version of HR 6684 in May, 218-199, but Senate Democrats refused to consider it.

NARFE said it doubts Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., will bring this bill up for a vote. But the group fears the bill could prompt senators to include a proposal for higher pension contributions in one of their bills.

Boehner also plans to bring a bill maintaining current tax cuts on up to $1 million in income up for a vote Thursday. He and President Obama had been negotiating on a plan to avoid the series of tax increases and spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff. But Boehner’s decision to move ahead with his own bills, which have virtually no chance of becoming law, suggests the negotiation process has crumbled and increases the chances of the sequestration cuts taking effect.

Obama on Wednesday pledged to veto Boehner’s tax cut bill.

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