Search Form
Now choose a category »

Public Statements

Letter to Senator Patty Murray, Representative Paul Ryan, Senator Jeff Sessions, and Representative Chris van Hollen - Mikulski Urges Conferees to Reject Draconian Increases to Federal Employees' Retirement Contributions as Work on Budget Deal Continues

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today in a letter to Budget Conference Committee leaders Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and Representatives Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) called for a budget agreement that recognizes the value of federal employees by canceling sequester for at least two years and rejecting draconian proposals to require federal employees to pay substantially more for their retirement.

"Each and every day, federal employees stand up for America. But they are worried about their jobs and futures. Their pay has been frozen for three years. Many were furloughed this year because of sequester. During the shutdown, they were told to stay home, and their paychecks were late. Now, they are deeply troubled by proposals to require them to pay considerably more for their retirement. I value the service of federal employees, and I know how important these benefits are to these middle class families," Senator Mikulski said. "I want federal employees to know that I am on their side. Federal employees have been undervalued and underappreciated for too long. That's why I fought so hard to ensure that in January, federal employees can receive a modest one percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). This will be the first COLA in four years and it is long overdue. To turn around and take 5.5 percent more out of their pockets to pay for the same retirement benefits is a cruel bait-and-switch for their compensation."
Maryland is home to the headquarters of 20 major federal agencies, from the Social Security Administration to the Food and Drug Administration. More than 300,000 federal employees and retirees live and work in Maryland, serving the nation and serving the world.

As Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Mikulski fought to ensure that the final agreement to reopen the federal government in October would permit the President to implement his plan for a 1 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for federal employees in January, 2014. Federal employee pay has been frozen for three years with no cost-of-living adjustments, leaving families stressed and stretched. They have been subjected to rolling furloughs since March due to sequester and newly hired federal employees have also been required to pay 2.3 percent more from their salaries into their retirement plans.

Senator Mikulski's letter on federal employees to the Budget Conference Committee leaders follows:

December 4, 2013

The Honorable Patty Murray
Chairman
Budget Committee
United States Senate

The Honorable Paul Ryan Chairman
Chairman
Budget Committee
U.S. House of Representatives

The Honorable Jeff Sessions
Ranking Member
Budget Committee
United States Senate

The Honorable Chris Van Hollen
Ranking Member
Budget Committee
U.S. House of Representatives

Dear Chairman Murray, Chairman Ryan, Ranking Member Van Hollen, and Ranking Member Sessions:

As you continue working toward a budget agreement, I'm writing to urge you to reach a deal that acknowledges the value of federal employees by avoiding sequester for at least two years and rejecting draconian proposals to require federal employees to pay substantially more for their retirement. For example, the proposal in the House Budget Resolution to require federal employees to pay 5.5 percent more for retirement is unacceptable.

I want federal employees to know that I am on their side. Federal employees have been undervalued and underappreciated for too long. That's why I fought so hard to ensure that in January, federal employees can receive a modest one percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). This will be the first COLA in four years and it is long overdue. To turn around and take 5.5 percent more out of their pockets to pay for the same retirement benefits is a cruel bait-and-switch for their compensation.

Maryland is home to 300,000 federal employees and retirees. Among them are: scientists on the leading edge of lifesaving research; engineers developing new technologies to create the jobs of the future; caregivers to our nation's veterans; and law enforcement agents and prosecutors protecting our communities from terrorism and violent crime.

Each and every day, federal employees stand up for America. But they are worried about their jobs and futures. Their pay has been frozen for three years. Many were furloughed this year because of sequester. During the shutdown, they were told to stay home, and their paychecks were late. Now, they are deeply troubled by proposals to require them to pay considerably more for their retirement. I value the service of federal employees, and I know how important these benefits are to these middle class families. Promises made must be promises kept.

Without a deal to avoid sequester for at least two years, budgets for agency payrolls will be slashed and federal employees will again face the uncertainty of furloughs and pay cuts. And requiring federal employees to pay substantially more for their retirement would again make them the scapegoats of deficit reduction.

It remains critical that you get a deal as soon as possible. I know you are working in earnest to get there, and I appreciate your dedication.

Sincerely,

Barbara A. Mikulski
United States Senator


Source:
Skip to top
Back to top