WASHINGTON – Members of Congress will get more lucrative pensions than new federal employees under a little-known provision in the bill that extends payroll tax relief and unemployment insurance, the head of the American Federation of Government Employees said today.
“Thanks to Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., members of Congress appear to be on the same footing as federal employees but in fact they’re keeping a luxurious benefit that lets them retire years earlier than federal workers without any reduction in their pension,” AFGE National President John Gage said. “This kind of underhanded shell game gives hypocrisy a bad name.”
Under the back-room deal that was rushed to a vote today, federal employees hired after Dec. 31, 2012 will pay 3.1 percent of their salary toward their pensions – a four-fold increase from the current rate. New members of Congress will pay the same rate as new federal employees, but they will be able to retire at age 50 with 20 years of service without the significant penalty most federal employees receive for retiring early.
“A federal employee and a member of Congress who both start on the same day will pay the same rate toward their pension, but the federal employees’ pension will be reduced by 50 percent for retiring early while the congressman will be able to retire years earlier and start receiving their full pension immediately,” Gage said. “Apparently, the drafters of this sham legislation think they deserve a better deal than what they forced on federal workers.”
Gage particularly criticized Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., for insisting that the extension in unemployment insurance be paid for on the backs of federal employees.
“There were 10 different ways, including eliminating subsidies for big profitable corporations, they could have funded this. But for totally political reasons, Camp and other House leaders decided to go after federal employees,” Gage said. “And now, to find out that they cut a better deal for themselves, it’s just sickening.”