|09-09-2005, 06:35 AM||#1|
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Atlanta, GA
Federal Retirement Benefits
For those OM members who work for the Federal Govt or are military retirees
Automatic Spending Cuts On Fall Agenda Retirement Benefits Could Be Affected
By Dan Adcock
Assistant Legislative Director
A bill that could automatically reduce federal civilian and military retirement and other entitlement programs was being drafted by a House Leadership group during the summer for possible consideration by the House sometime this fall.
As defined by the Congressional Budget Office, an entitlement is “a legal obligation on the federal government to make payments to a person, business, or unit of government that meets the criteria set in law.” Once an entitlement is created by law, no further congressional action, such as annual appropriations, is necessary to ensure that those eligible receive payments on an ongoing basis. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and federal and military retirement are examples of entitlement programs.
Last year, the House soundly defeated amendments to a budget procedure bill by Reps. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) that would have required cuts in entitlement programs in any year spending caps were breached. Both amendments exempted Social Security, and Kirk’s version also protected Medicare, but federal and military retirement were made vulnerable to the automatic reduction process the lawmakers proposed.
According to the nonpartisan Center on Budget and Public Policy, Hersarling’s legislation, reintroduced earlier this year (H.R. 2290), would reduce federal retirement by an unprecedented $127 billion and cut military retirement by $74 billion, both over a 10-year period.
The House easily rejected Hensarling’s and Kirk’s amendments last year because Republican leaders did not promote the proposals, and former Appropriations Committee Chairman C.W. Bill Young (R-FL) and his panel’s subcommittee chairs opposed it. What’s different this year is that House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) is backing a group of his colleagues—including Hensarling and Kirk—who were reportedly drafting a new budget enforcement bill that would cap entitlement spending and receive enough votes to pass the House.
House appropriators, led by Rep. Young, opposed the automatic cuts last year because they also would have capped the amounts allocated to their committee to fund the daily operation of government (also known as “discretionary spending”). Although still a subcommittee chairman, Young no longer is Appropriations Committee chairman because he reached the term limit mandated by House rules. Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA) took over the panel earlier this year. Opposition by Appropriations Committee members could wane this year because such discretionary spending allocations were significantly cut by the Budget Resolution approved last April. Non-defense domestic programs were reduced by $216 billion. However, most entitlement programs emerged relatively unscathed, except for Medicaid, farm subsidies, food stamps and the Pension Benefits Guarantee Corporation. Some observers believe that appropriators, who were required to make painful discretionary spending cuts this year, might think entitlement programs should also shoulder this burden.
Budget experts speculate legislation being drafted by the task force will not require reductions as steep as those imposed by H.R. 2290. Nevertheless, whatever the House considers this autumn still could reduce the economic and health security promised to federal annuitants and military retirees.
|09-09-2005, 07:03 AM||#2|
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Twixt Hell & Highwater
Fortunately, this won't affect the pensions of all of these congressmen. Whew. That's a relief. I think I'll try to run for congress. Then I know that I'll be set for life.
|09-09-2005, 07:52 AM||#3|
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Folsom Prison
hmmm, it's gonna get really ugly. Here's an editorial from my local rag, and the bills are just beginning, not to mention all the graft that can be sucked out of the construction projects that haven't even begun.
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