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Employee groups rip president's budget

Federal employee groups continued to lob criticism at President Obama's fiscal 2014 budget proposal, which was officially released April 10.

Federal employee groups continued to lob criticism at President Obama's fiscal 2014 budget proposal, which was officially released April 10.

While the budget proposes a modest 1 percent federal pay raise, it also would require federal employees to contribute more toward retirement, make $8.4 billion in cuts to federal financial support for federal employees’ health insurance, and change the index used for calculating cost-of-living adjustments to produce smaller cost-of-living adjustments. In all, the budget contains $35 billion worth of cuts to federal pay and benefits.

Federal Managers Association National President Patricia Niehaus was among those panning the president's budget request.

"FMA continues to oppose any proposal which calls for federal employees to contribute more toward their retirement plan, which is an immediate decrease in the take-home pay of millions of hardworking Americans," Niehaus said in a statement. "As federal employees face furloughs due to sequestration that will effectively cut up to 20 percent of their pay through FY13, this budget proposal and the budget resolutions already considered by Congress hits federal workers while they are down."

Niehaus called the proposed budget "an added insult to middle-class men and women who are currently sacrificing and struggling." She also said the group was "exceedingly disappointed" by the proposal to use the "chained consumer price index" to calculate—and reduce the size of—COLAs.

"This proposal was in neither the House- nor Senate-passed budget resolutions," Niehaus said, "and we urge Congress to not adopt this harmful calculation method."

The American Federation of Government Employees called the budget "a shameful abandonment of [the president's] campaign promise to protect the middle class and needy from tax increases or harmful benefit cuts..."

“Instead of holding to its promise to protect the middle class and the working poor, the administration seems determined to contribute to a worsening of living standards for federal workers, disabled veterans, and the elderly,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said in a statement.

National Federation of Federal Employees National President William R. Dougan also issued a statement decrying the budget measures, particularly coming on top of a three-year pay freeze.

"This budget asks federal workers to take another1.2 percent cut to their take-home pay by increasing employee retirement contributions yet again," he said. "It reduces Social Security benefits by moving to a chained CPI; and it eliminates the FERS annuity supplement for federal employees. This triple whammy of retirement cuts will make it incredibly difficult for federal workers to secure their retirement."

"The White House has said time and time again that they value the contributions federal workers make to their country, but this budget tells a different story entirely," Dougan said. "With friends like these, who needs enemies?”

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