Sen. Cardin Says Feds Should 'Be a Little Outraged' Over Proposed Pay and Benefits Cuts

In an interview last week on Federal News Radio’s Federal Drive with Tom Temin, Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) reminded federal employees that dodging the $32 billion in cuts to federal retirement that were components of both the White House and House of Representatives budget proposals does not mean federal employees no longer have cause for concern.

Cardin suggested that ongoing attempts to foot the bill for new tax policies may once again put federal employees’ pay and benefits in the crosshairs of legislators.

“We know that there’s a big hole in their tax proposal that’s going to add to the deficit, and there’s going to be more and more pressure to cut spending in order to pay for these tax cuts that go primarily to wealthy people,” Cardin said. “When you talk about how you pay for it, the federal workforce always seems to be on the list.”

Among the changes being discussed, according to Federal News Radio, are “possible cuts to the maximum amount of pre-tax money workers can contribute to their 401(k)s, including the Thrift Savings Plan. Currently, employees can contribute as much as $18,000 to a 401(k)-style plan like the TSP.” However, “some Republicans, like House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) see this proposal as one of many ways to offset a $6 trillion tax plan, which includes lowering the corporate tax rate and reducing the number of tax brackets.”

Cardin has argued that such changes will only “make it more difficult for people to save for their retirement, putting more pressure on Social Security and more pressure, quite frankly, on government programs,” also suggesting that “it’s a timing issue. It doesn’t raise any revenue; it just changes when you collect the revenue, so you’ll be digging an even deeper deficit in the out-years.”

Despite his warning, however, and his suggestion that federal employees should “be a little outraged” and “put a face on it,” Cardin seemed optimistic, stating, “I think there’s enough Republicans in the Senate to make it a non-starter. I don’t think it’s going to end up in the Senate bill.”

Posted in From the Hill

Tags: federal pay, federal workforce, cutting feds' pay and benefits, federal employee benefits

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