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Congressman Brown Introduces Legislation to Expand Salaries for Federal Employees

July 18, 2017
Press Release
Bill Would Decrease Mandatory Pension Contributions for New Federal Employees From 4.4 Percent to 0.8 Percent

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, Congressman Anthony G. Brown (MD-04) introduced the Federal Employee Pension Act of 2017 (H.R. 3269). The bill would repeal sections of the Middle-Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 and the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 that raised mandatory pension contributions of new federal employees to 4.4 percent. Brown’s legislation would roll back this requirement to pre-2012 levels, setting the mandatory contribution amount to 0.8 percent expanding the net take-home pay for federal workers. Cutting benefits and increasing mandatory pension contributions use dollars earned by federal workers to balance the budget.   

“Federal employees are essential to making the government work for Americans across our diverse nation. Congress cannot continue to squeeze these middle-class, hardworking public servants to try and balance the budget,” said Congressman Brown. “These workers are not the drivers of our debt, and targeting them for benefit and pay cuts is wrong. If we continue to treat them unfairly, it will become more and more difficult to recruit and retain a 21st century workforce. The American people deserve and need the best and brightest working for them.”  

“AFGE fully supports the Federal Employee Pension Fairness Act of 2017. We thank Congressman Brown for his leadership, and all of the bill co-sponsors for their work on this important issue. Taking money from the paychecks of hard working public servants simply cannot be justified. It’s inexcusable for Federal working people and retirees to continue being scapegoats for an economic crisis they had no part in. No other group of middle-class Americans has contributed to deficit reduction the way federal employees have. Since 2010, federal workers have had more than $182 billion taken from their salary and benefits, and earn 6.5 percent less now than they did at the start of the decade. Increasing federal employees' retirement contributions for budget austerity must stop. The federal retirement systems play no role whatsoever in the creation of the deficit. AFGE rejects the notion that there should be a trade-off between funding the agency programs to which federal employees have devoted their lives, and their own livelihoods,” said AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr.

“Passage of this legislation would be, and should be, the first step toward reversing the practice of dipping into the federal employee piggy bank to pay for other congressional priorities. It will help to ensure we can recruit and retain the best and brightest into public service. Our country needs a talented and experienced civil service to ensure the faithful execution of our laws and the delivery of services critical to hardworking taxpayers. Providing our public servants adequate compensation is about more than just fairness; it is about maintaining an efficient and effective federal government,” said Richard Thissen, National President, National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE).

“NTEU strongly supports Rep. Brown’s bill to restore parity in how much new and veteran federal employees have to pay toward their retirement,” said National Treasury Employees Union National President Tony Reardon. “Federal employees hired since 2012 pay significantly more into the Federal Employee Retirement System, which is fully funded, than everyone else, for the same benefits. This is blatantly unfair and essentially amounts to a selective tax on certain federal employees, and complicates federal agency recruitment. We encourage Congress to pass this legislation and restore fairness to the system.  NTEU thanks Rep. Brown for his leadership on this issue, at a time when others in Washington are moving in the opposite direction.”

“The Federal Employee Pension Fairness Act of 2017 is needed now more than ever, as the Trump Administration and Republicans in Congress are attempting to cut federal employee pay and benefits in order to provide tax relief to the wealthy. Attacking America’s public servants’ will only hurt the country as a whole, as federal employees carry out the essential duties that our government requires each and every day. The federal government is the leading employer in many states, and if it cannot hire the necessary amount of workers or pay them what they’ve earned, the American public will suffer. Providing these middle-class workers with the pensions they deserve will allow the U.S. government to be a competitive employer, hiring the very best and brightest workers that our country has to offer,” Randy Erwin, National President, National Federation of Federal Employees.  

"NALC is proud to support this effort to restore fairness to letter carriers and the federal community who have been forced to contribute more of their modest earnings toward retirement contributions,” said NALC President Fredric Rolando. “Veterans, who make up over 30 percent of the workforce and those who began their service by working for a federal agency should not be subject to increases that take money away from them and their families. We hope Congress will take up this important legislation to restore fairness instead of pursuing deeper cuts to the health and retirement of federal workers.”

Representatives co-sponsoring the bill include:

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (MD), Rep. Peter A. Defazio (OR), Rep. Dwight Evans (PA), Rep. John Garamendi (CA), Rep. Gene Green (TX), Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (HI), Rep. Hakeem S. Jeffries (NY), Rep. Barbara Lee (CA), Rep. Stephen F. Lynch (MA), Rep. James P. McGovern (MA), Rep. Grace F. Napolitano (CA), Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.), Rep. Collin C. Peterson (MN), Rep. Mark Pocan (WI), Rep. Jamie Raskin (MD), Rep. José E. Serrano (NY), Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (NH), Rep. Marc A. Veasey (TX), Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ), and Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (FL). 

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