Skip to comments.Federal workers' union criticizes $260B House GOP transportation plan (retirement loot)
Posted on 02/08/2012 5:39:19 PM PST by Libloather
Federal workers' union criticizes $260B House GOP transportation plan
By Keith Laing - 02/08/12 02:31 PM ET
A union that represents employees of numerous federal agencies accused Republicans in the House of Representatives of cutting benefits to fund their $260 billion surface transportation bill.
The Washington, D.C.-based National Treasury Employees Union sharply criticized H.R. 3813, the Securing Annuities for Federal Employees Act of 2012, arguing the legislation would divert savings from spending less on federal employees' pensions to the Highway Trust Fund.
The bill, which was sponsored by Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.), was approved Tuesday by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
But NTEU President Colleen Kelly said lawmakers should look somewhere other than the retirement plans of federal government employees to fund a new transportation bill.
Why look to highway trust funds and gas taxes to fix crumbling roads and bridges when you can find the funding by reneging on federal pension commitments and cut federal pay? Kelly said in a news release Wednesday.
Kelly said the legislation would require the workers to pay 1.5 percent more toward their retirement plans, which she said amounted to "a steep pay cut.
I find it outrageous that the Oversight Committee would seek to impose this regressive legislation on federal employees who already are contributing $60 billion to deficit reduction through the current two-year pay freeze, Kelley said. It is especially discouraging when you consider that the House simply refuses to address the pressing need for shared sacrifice, particularly from the wealthiest Americans."
In a news release after the Oversight Committee approved the measure, Ross said it was necessary because federal pensions had almost $700 billion in "unfunded liability."
"The unfunded liability stems from the fact that the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund is not a store of wealth for the federal government," Ross said. "In other words, it is a trust fund full of IOUs, just like the Social Security Trust Fund."
Ross made no mention of shifting any money to the transportation bill, but lawmakers in both chambers of Congress are looking for revenue sources for a new multi-year transportation bill. The measure would spend upwards of $50 billion per year on road and transit projects, according to bills that are moving quickly in the House and Senate, but that amount is between $13 billion and $14 billion per year more than is contained by the traditional funding mechanism for federal transportation bills, the Highway Trust Fund.
The trust fund is funded by the federal gas tax. But the gas tax only brings in about $36 billion a year, and increasing the current 18.4 cents per gallon taxation rate has been a non-starter with both parties and President Obama.
House Republicans have suggested using revenue from increased oil drilling to fund its plan to spend $260 billion on transportation over the next five years without bankrupting the trust fund, which a recent Congressional Budget Office report said could be zeroed out as early as 2014.
The Democratically-controlled Senate has countered with a bevy of tax loopholes that could be closed, and suggested sweeping $3.7 million from another pot of money, the Leaking Underground Storage Tank trust fund.
Separately, Obama has called for using money saved from reduced defense spending.
Having completed its committee work on its two-year, $109 billion transportation bill, the Senate could hold its first floor on the measure, for cloture, as early as Thursday afternoon.
Everyone is doing it. Get used to it.
Leftists love to rant about greed. They need look no further than public employee unions - they’re the greediest b*stards around.
They're upset about a paltry 1.5% "pay cut"? These people are truly out of touch.
Such a thing should not exist in the first place.
It really is a 1.5% cut that each of these lazy union scumbags have to pay towards their own retirement!
Effing 1.5% and these bastards are throwing a hissy fit. Unbelievable.
So what’s new? Congress under both parties has found it more than convenient to loot the US Postal Service retirement health fund for years. This is why the Postal Service is broke, because they’re forced to pay billions up front at the beginning of the fiscal years to replenish the empty retirement health fund account. Which Congress treated as their private piggy bank.
Funny, I can recall some years back, Jesse Jackson tried his hardest to get his hands on federal pension funds...to set himself and family up for life, and to transfer billions into a reparation scheme for blacks. That didn’t work out, and Jackson said at the time that the fed pension fund was the last pot of gold left to loot. However, they’ve gone around the back of the barn and paid at least hundreds of millions to black farmers who felt they’d been cheated out of fed help. Also millions to blacks who’d never seen a plow or a cow in their life.
As for Highway Gas Taxes, they would go a lot further if all the money were actually used to do road upkeep. After all they are essentially user fees. No more mass transit subsidies, bike lanes, et.al. When is the last time that any of these “transportation alternatives” contributed a dime to their own systems? They take the hard earned money from folks who drive and piss it away on trains that run at a loss and require further subsidies.