The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee advanced today the largest cost-saving reform to federal employee pensions since the creation of the Federal Employee Retirement System in 1984. H.R. 3813, the Secure Annuities for Federal Employee Act, introduced by Oversight Subcommittee on Federal Workforce Chairman Dennis Ross, R-Fla., was approved by a vote of 22-16.
The bill would apply to enrolled employees in all three branches of government, including members of Congress. Similar provisions were adopted by the full House of Representatives in December as part of H.R. 3630, the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act. The Congressional Budget Office scored those provisions as saving $44.6 billion.
Ross said the reforms were necessary because federal pensions have an unfunded liability of $681.7 billion.
"The unfunded liability stems from the fact that the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund is not a store of wealth for the federal government," said Ross, noting that in order to actually pay annuities, the U.S. treasury must disburse money that is either raised by taxes or borrowed from the public.
"In other words," Ross continued, "it is a trust fund full of IOUs, just like the Social Security Trust Fund."
Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., noted that the real advantage of this reform was long-term.
"This is not just about savings today," he said. "This is about savings that our children and grandchildren will appreciate."
The Committee also advanced on a unanimous voice vote H.R. 3902, the District of Columbia Special Elections Reform Act, introduced by District of Columbia Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton. H.R. 3902 will give D.C. greater flexibility in scheduling special elections.
The Committee also approved the twelve post office naming bills. Full details of legislative action at today's business meeting will be posted online shortly.