House budget proposal targets federal retirement

House Republicans on March 17 released a fiscal 2016 budget proposal which once again includes a measure that would increase the amount federal employees must contribute to their retirement.

House Republicans on March 17 released a fiscal 2016 budget proposal which once again includes a measure that would increase the amount federal employees must contribute to their retirement.

"In keeping with a recommendation from the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, this budget calls for Federal employees—including Members of Congress and congressional staff—to make greater contributions toward their own retirement," the proposal states.

House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) said the plan would balance the budget and strengthen the country.

“Today, our nation faces tremendous fiscal and economic challenges and, if nothing is done, a future of less opportunity and low expectations," said Price. "The proposal that the House Budget Committee has introduced today – A Balanced Budget for a Stronger America – is a plan to force Washington to start tackling these challenges with positive solutions. It is a plan that balances the budget in less than 10 years, secures and strengthens vital programs – like Medicare – provides our military men and women with the resources they need to protect American families, and would make Washington more efficient, effective and accountable to hard-working taxpayers."

But Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), ranking member of the committee, was quick to condemn the budget proposal, claiming it would hurt middle-class workers.

"Congressional Republicans have been quick to pay lip service to wanting to help working families – but this budget means that Americans who are working harder than ever will be getting even less," Van Hollen said in a statement. "It does nothing to boost the paychecks of working Americans and makes it harder to buy a home. Students will see deep education cuts and college will be less affordable. And this budget takes away the tools that allow people to climb the ladder of opportunity.  ... It reinforces a tax system that is rigged to reward those making money off of money more than people who make money through hard work."

The leader of American Federation of Government Employees also denounced the plan.

"The fiscal 2016 House budget plan issued today by Rep. Tom Price attacks millions of working-class Americans by proposing major cuts to their compensation and jobs," said AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr.

“Instead of focusing on creating new jobs and lifting more Americans out of poverty, the House leadership has proposed a budget that does exactly the opposite by slashing the compensation and jobs of hard-working federal employees,” Cox said. “Rep. Price’s budget ignores the $159 billion in cuts that have already been made to federal employees’ pay and benefits and demands more cuts to this small segment of the American workforce. "

"Federal employees aren’t some faceless bureaucrats to be cut at a whim," he said. "They are real people with real jobs who make a real difference in the lives of millions Americans every day."

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