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Possible budget deal that hits fed retirement draws fire

Reports that congressional budget conferees are closing in on a deal that would cut federal employee compensation as a way to replace sequestration funding reductions has drawn a harsh response from some labor leaders and lawmakers.

Reports that congressional budget conferees are closing in on a deal that would cut federal employee compensation as a way to replace sequestration funding reductions has drawn a harsh response from some labor leaders and lawmakers.

In a letter to congressional budget conferees, National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelley called such a move “totally unacceptable," and maintained that one proposal under discussion—one that would require higher employee pension contributions—amounts to a pay cut.

“Requiring them to continue to bear such a disproportionate burden of deficit reduction, which they did not cause, is grossly unfair and will lead to a recruitment and retention crisis in the federal workforce,” Kelley said.

Kelley noted that two members of the House and Senate—Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) and Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), both of whom represent constituencies with a high number of federal employees—also called on leaders of the budget conference this week to reject proposals that would result in sacrifices by federal workers.

Mikulski, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, and whose state is home to 20 federal agencies, said that federal employees already have been through enough.

“Their pay has been frozen for three years," she said. "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."

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