Connolly: Pension proposal could hurt recruiting, retention

Wednesday - 5/18/2011, 6:30pm EDT

WFED's Ruben Gomez on In Depth

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By Ruben Gomez
Federal News Radio

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) is opposing a proposal that would require federal employees to increase their retirement contributions.

The proposal, one of many aimed at reducing the federal deficit, would require federal employees to increase contributions for their pensions from 0.8 percent to about 6 percent.

Connolly, who represents a district that is home to more than 50,000 federal employees, said the proposal could hurt the government's ability to recruit and retain good employees.

"Instead of elevating the nobility of public service, essentially we are disparaging it and making it a far less attractive choice for young people entering the workforce," Connolly said in a phone call with reporters where he also accused Republicans of being dishonest about trying to reduce the deficit.

Republicans have said the move would save more than $120 billion over the next decade.

The Washington Post reports that Vice President Joe Biden and lawmakers discussed changing feds' pension contributions in closed door talks last week.

The idea gained traction in Republican-led the House of Representatives, which passed a 2012 federal budget plan that includes the proposal.

The Democrat-led Senate is expected to take up the House GOP budget proposal next week.

Lawmakers on both sides agree that Congress must do something to reduce the nation's $14.3 trillion debt, but they remain divided on how to do it.