House Democrats Fighting Against Pension Reform

Democrats are attacking a Republican plan to ask federal employees to contribute more to their pensions.

Democrats are attacking a Republican plan to ask federal employees to contribute more to their pensions.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said today that the GOP’s plan to cut pension benefits for new, retiring, and current workers would place an unfair burden on middle class Americans.

“We should not try to solve our budget problems on the backs of middle-class federal workers while we refuse to ask the wealthiest Americans to contribute even a penny toward these goals,” Cummings said today during a committee hearing focused on President Obama’s efforts to reform the federal workforce.

The Maryland Democrat said the measure — which the committee passed on a party line vote earlier this month — to roll back pensions would strip middle class workers of $44 billion. He lamented that federal workers have already lost $60 billion due to a two-year pay freeze that House Republicans want to see extended by another year.

Cummings advocated “cutting waste” as an alternative route to reform, and said promoting greater competition in federal contracts could help reduce wasteful spending and save the government billions of dollars.

Cummings cited efforts to reduce improper payments by the federal government by $50 billion by the end of 2012. A key tool in this endeavor is the GPRA Modernization Act, originating in the Committee on Oversight and Reform and signed into into law by Obama on January 4, 2011. Cummings said the law, which requires the administration to develop cross-cutting agency priority goals and to track progress toward meeting those goals, is an example of successful attempt at reform that doesn’t hurt the middle class.

Geoff Holtzman edited this report.

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