For the first time since 2009, the House has approved a bipartisan budget plan that dulls sequestration’s.
The GOP-controlled lower chamber on Thursday voted 333-94 to send the sweeping spending and deficit-reduction plan crafted by the chairs of the House and Senate Budget committees, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., to the upper chamber. If approved next week by the Senate, it would set 2014 and 2015 spending levels, lessen defense and domestic sequester cuts in both years, and allow congressional appropriators to begin writing annual department spending bills.
There are also some measures in the bill that would affect federal employees pensions. Tim McManus is the Vice President for Education and Outreach at the Partnership for Public Service. He told me that this new budget would be a welcome reprieve from budget uncertainty for many feds.
"Some of the concerns and worries about the threat of a shutdown have gone away. That is actually not going to happen for at least two years. We know now that those concerns and that anxiety that comes along with that are out of sight and out of mind," said McManus.
A change in pensions?
"For any federal employee who is hired after December 31st will have to contribute 4.4% of their salary to their pension plan. That is higher than what most federal employees pay right now. I think you will see some detrimental affects of that on hiring the next generation of public servants," said McManus.
McManus compared the pensions:
- Under the old system Feds only contribute .8% into their pension. So the individual ends up paying a much greater percentage.
- For the federal employees who are already employed this doesn't have a significant impact. But where it may have an impact is down the road. Does Congress say we can do this for more people?
"One of the biggest things in this budget deal that is going to affect feds is the piece of mind that feds are no longer operating under the threat of shutdown. The budget also rolls back some of the affects of sequestration," said McManus.
McManus looks back at 2013:
- Sequestration meant some massive cuts for agencies. In most cases the only way those agencies could deal with the cuts was some sort of furloughing of employees. With the budget the threat of furloughs is minimized.
- We had the shutdown and that was bad. But we also had the conversation about the shutdown that went on for forever. That conversation would be out of the picture completely for 2014.
"The budget would allow agencies to prioritize and plan for at least the next year and a half. They know what they are operating under. There is no question about if you could spend money or not," said McManus.
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