Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Rep. Darrell Issa of California are asking the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to prepare a report discussing long-term savings from their proposed cuts to federal employees’ retirement benefits.
In an Oct. 29 letter to CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf, Ryan and Issa – chairmen of House Budget Committee and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, respectively – asked the CBO to discuss taking money out of federal employees’ pockets from different options based on changes recently made to other pension plans both in public and private sectors. In Wisconsin, for example, state lawmakers repealed most collective bargaining and required workers to pay at least 5.9% of their salary toward their retirement and 12% of their health insurance premiums. That’s a pay cut of over $4,200 a year for the average state worker making $50,000.
Ryan has proposed a huge cut to federal employees’ retirement benefits by requiring them to pay 5.5% more into their pensions. For Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) employees hired before 2013, their contributions would go from 0.8% to 6.3%. Civil Service Retirement System employees would see their contributions go up from 7% to 12.5%. Ryan and his colleagues have also proposed to eliminate a supplemental benefit for FERS employees who retire before age 62.
While Ryan and Issa appear to believe that government contributions to its employees’ retirement are a burden, they and other House lawmakers didn’t bat an eye when they passed a whopping $287 billion business tax cut with no offset earlier this year.