Congressional Budget Office Releases Report on Domestic Partner Benefits Bill; President Dougan Calls for Action
Expanding full benefits to domestic partners of federal employees will cost a total of $101 million dollars in direct spending over the next five years, according to a recent report issued by the Congressional Budget Office.
The bill, formally known as the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act of 2009 (S. 1102), would make same-sex domestic partners of federal employees eligible to receive the same employment benefits as married spouses of federal employees. Those benefits include health insurance, survivor annuities, dental and vision benefits, life insurance, and workers’ compensation.
Currently, domestic partners of federal employees are not entitled to any of the aforementioned benefits. Since benefits comprise a great deal of federal employee compensation, this disparity effectively denies federal employees with domestic partners equal pay for equal work.
“This is fundamentally an issue of fairness and equality,” said NFFE National President William R. Dougan. “Gay and lesbian employees work just as long and just as hard as their heterosexual counterparts and they deserve their fair share. NFFE will continue to fight hard to ensure that this bill becomes law.”
Late last year, the House version of the bill, H.R. 2517, was passed by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee by a wide margin. The Senate version also advanced out of committee by a steep bipartisan majority. There is little indication thus far when the bills are expected to be brought up for a vote in either chamber of Congress.
“We hope to see this legislation passed into law during this session of Congress,” said NFFE Legislative Director Randy Erwin. “It is past time for Congress to address this injustice in the federal workforce.”