On behalf of the AFL-CIO, I am writing to urge you to oppose the inclusion of a massive reduction in Federal Employee Retirement (FER) benefits in the FY 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Without any hearings or expert testimony, the NDAA is not the place to embark on a wholesale revision of the federal retirement system for over 2 million government employees in literally hundreds of federal agencies.
Since 2010, federal employees have experienced reductions in their compensation totaling over $140 billion. Piling on more benefit cuts will adversely affect both recruitment and retention—contrary to the very mission this bill is supposed to enhance. The contributions of federal employees cannot be overstated: they serve the American people across the nation and around the world, provide support to our military and veterans, keep our air, water and food supply safe, and make sure that our seniors and disabled workers receive the Social Security benefits they have earned.
The benefits federal workers receive are comparable to those provided by large firms in the private sector and the federal retirement system is fully-funded. We hope you will see this proposal for what it is: an ideological attack on federal workers that sends a corrosive message that their work is not valued, and they cannot count on their employer to keep its word. We urge the Congress to reject it.
William Samuel, Director
Government Affairs Department