Bipartisan group of lawmakers protest proposed pay cuts for federal workers

WASHINGTON—A bipartisan group of 10 representatives, including an influential   GOP lawmaker close to House leaders, are protesting proposed pay cuts for federal workers.

And in a letter to the GOP chairman of the House panel that writes federal worker legislation, they add that a 6 percent pay cut plus the other measures considered would particularly hurt workers in high-hazard occupations, such as the fire fighters now battling blazes on extremely dry Western federal lands.

The July 27 letter comes as the House Governmental Affairs Committee starts work on legislation dealing with federal pay and pensions, which are intertwined. The pay cut, the protesting lawmakers said, takes the form of yet another mandated pension contribution hike – with no corresponding payout at the end.

If the cut takes effect, it would hurt an estimated 2 million workers and their families nationwide.

The GOPers’ letter flies in the face of party orthodoxy, as Congress’ ruling Republicans often treat the feds – 85 percent of whom live outside the D.C. area – as a political piñata. But the letter also agrees with stands that federal worker unions, notably the Government Employees (AFGE) and the Treasury Employees, support.

“Federal employees are an easy political target. In more ways than one, they have already given at the office,” the solons, led by influential Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., and Rep. Rob Bishop, D-Ga., told Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C.

Besides the pension payment increase, Gowdy’s House panel, heeding Trump administration budget recommendations, also wants to reduce the salary base for the workers’ pensions – and thus future pension payments themselves.

That would especially hurt federal workers in hazardous occupations. “Eliminating the supplement for employees who retire before they collect Social Security at age 62 penalizes federal law enforcement officers, fire fighters and air traffic controllers who must retire early due to the physically demanding nature of their jobs,” the representatives added.

Gowdy’s committee had no immediate reaction to the letter. It has yet to draft legislation covering federal pay and pensions.

Source: PAI