Supercommittee given recommendations on federal pay, benefits

Thursday - 9/29/2011, 1:29pm EDT


By Jack Moore
Federal News Radio

It seems nearly everyone would like to bend the ear of the 12 members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.

No less than the president of the United States has weighed in on recommendations to the supercommittee — tasked with cutting as much as $1.5 trillion from the deficit over 10 years.

A number of the president's proposals would affect federal pay and benefits, and he also proposed other federal-specific measures, as well, such as capping contractor pay.

Other voices have also entered the fray. The Federal-Postal Coalition, made up of 21 union and employee and manager associations, wrote this week to the deficit committee's co-chairs, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), warning against deeper cuts to federal employees' pay and benefits.

Coming after federal workers have already had their pay frozen, the White House deficit reduction proposal is "simply unfair and unacceptable" NTEU President Colleen Kelly said.

But other proposals would call for even deeper cuts.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) announced his supercommittee recommendations — amounting to $1.4 trillion in cuts over 10 years— earlier this month. Johnson, who serves as the ranking Republican on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee tasked with overseeing government management, said many of his proposals amount to "common sense."

Some of Johnson's fed-specific proposals along with his office's estimated savings:

  • Cut workforce by 10 percent by 2015 — through attrition — and freeze pay for civilian employees through 2015. Savings: $248 billion

  • Cut 15 percent of the federal contractor workforce. Savings: $233 billion

  • Require employees to match contribution to FERS Defined Benefit Plan. Savings: $133.27 billion

  • Phase out FERS Basic Benefit Plan. Savings: $75 billion

  • Freeze SES pay for three years. Savings: $50 billion

  • Eliminate locality pay for federal workers living throughout the U.S. Savings: $40 billion

  • Change COLA formula to reflect urban consumer prices, not wages. Savings: $24 billion