GOP Budget Seeks Hundreds of Billions in Cuts to Federal Employees
Last week, Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, unveiled the GOP’s budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2016. Continuing a trend from previous GOP budget proposals, the budget seeks deep cuts from federal employees – to the tune of $318 billion.
One the most notable and deepest cuts calls for federal employees to “make greater contributions toward their retirement.” If implemented, federal workers would be required to pay an additional six percent of salary toward retirement with no increase in benefits. This is the same as a permanent six percent pay cut, or working without pay for three weeks every year. This provision alone would cost federal employees an estimated $127 billion and would come in the wake of contribution changes made in 2013 that have resulted in an estimated $21 billion in costs to federal employees.
Increased pension contributions are just another tactic Congress uses to disguise mean-spirited pay cuts. Federal employees have endured three years of pay freezes, unpaid furloughs and intense financial instability ushered by a 2013 government shutdown. Yet despite the financial troubles Congress has burdened federal employees with, they insist on seeking deeper cuts.
In addition to the poorly-disguised pay cuts, the GOP budget also calls for extreme, unspecified cuts from the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. What is most concerning is that the Committee has direct oversight of spending related to federal employee pay, health care, retirement and little else. So while there is no clear-cut target, the budgetary jargon attempts to hide further cuts to federal employee benefits.
No other group of Americans has contributed towards deficit direction at the level federal employees have in recent years. Federal employees have already contributed $159 billion toward deficit reduction since fiscal year 2011 alone, and this latest budget would seek an additional $318 billion in cuts balanced on the backs of federal employees.
“The GOP budget continues to saddle federal employees with an oversized portion of cuts to balance the federal budget,” said NFFE National President William R. Dougan. “This budget makes hard-working federal employees scapegoats for a dysfunctional Congress. NFFE stands in staunch opposition to this budget, and we will work with our allies on Capitol Hill to make sure that none of the cuts sought are inflicted upon America’s dedicated civil servants who have already sacrificed so much in the name of deficit reduction.”