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Federal Managers Association

Press Release

  • Alexandria, VA - Today, the Federal Managers Association (FMA) National President Patricia Niehaus sent the following letter to all Members of the House of Representatives in advance of floor debate on H.R. 7, the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act. The bill disproportionately targets federal employees in order to pay for public infrastructure projects.

    February 15, 2012

    Dear Member of Congress:

    On behalf of the over 200,000 managers and supervisors in the federal government whose interests are represented by the Federal Managers Association (FMA), I am writing to express strong opposition to H.R. 3813, the Securing Annuities for Federal Employees Act, which is being used as a pay-for for H.R. 7, the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act. H.R. 3813 would fund H.R. 7 through massive changes to federal employee pensions. Federal employees are not only being targeted in the name of deficit reduction, but now it seems Congress is willing to use them as a means to pay for any legislation moving through the House. This sets a dangerous precedent and disproportionately places an inequitable burden on federal employees under the false pretense that their pay and benefits are far greater than their private sector counterparts.

    Civil servants have already made a $60 billion financial contribution in an effort to offset government spending. Federal managers understand the demands placed on our economy and the current state of our fiscal crisis, and they accepted the two-year pay freeze as a shared sacrifice in the collective effort to pare down the nation's mounting debt. However, H.R. 3813 is blatantly unfair in asking federal employees to shoulder yet another burden by increasing most current federal employees' retirement contributions by three times as much as they pay now. FMA specifically opposes language that calls for changes to the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) requiring feds to contribute an additional 1.5 percent to their retirement plans, an immediate decrease in the take home pay of two million hard working Americans. While Congress is simultaneously debating how to put more money into the paychecks of American citizens, it is incomprehensible that the same rationale does not apply to federal employees.

    We are also concerned with another provision in the bill which would eliminate the FERS annuity supplement. When FERS was first established, the annuity supplement was a crucial component in the transition from CSRS to a less generous defined benefit pension under FERS, and many CSRS employees transitioned to FERS for this reason. As FERS retirees do not have access to their Social Security benefits until the age of 62, the annuity supplement provides an important pension offset from what they would have received under CSRS. In essence, eliminating the annuity supplement for retirees amounts to eliminating one of the legs in the "three-legged stool" of federal retirement.

    What is even more alarming is that this provision would apply to FERS employees under age 62 who accept a buyout or early out from their agency. In this time of budget and workforce cuts, many federal agencies, and the Department of Defense in particular, are offering employees buyouts to retire early in order to comply with budget restrictions appropriated by Congress. By eliminating the annuity supplement, you effectively remove the incentive for employees to leave service early, and make it even more difficult for agencies to operate efficiently in this challenging budget climate.

    Federal workers provide invaluable services to our country, yet we are constantly facing vicious attacks against our livelihoods. This legislation disproportionately places an unjust burden on federal employees to pay for infrastructure projects that have little relation to the federal workforce. The bull's-eye on the backs of federal employees just keeps getting bigger - first it was deficit reduction, then a payroll tax holiday, and now it is the highway bill. When will this injustice stop?

    I respectfully urge you to vote against H.R. 3813 as a means to pay for H.R. 7. Federal workers, many of whom are struggling financially just like their private sector counterparts, do not deserve to be treated as pawns for government spending. Thank you for your time and consideration of our views. Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact FMA's Government Affairs Director Jessica Klement at jklement@fedmanagers.org or 703-683-8700.


    Patricia Niehaus

    National President



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