Kenneth Gold | November 2, 2015
In addition to providing a two-year budget framework, the 2015 Bipartisan Budget Act is far kinder to federal employee pay and benefits than the 2013 Ryan-Murray agreement. It’s also kinder than the FY 16 congressional budget resolution, which would have made sharp cuts to feds in the workplace.
The 2013 budget deal raised the amount that new hires are required to contribute to their retirement accounts; and there was at least one recent proposed bill that would have applied the higher contributions to all federal workers under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), not just new ones. The new deal doesn’t appear to include any provisions that would reduce pay or benefits to current or retired feds. It also spares many retirees, including retired feds, from seeing their Medicare Part B premiums increased by more than 50 percent for 2016 and 2017.
Although federal agencies will still need to operate under a continuing resolution (CR) until there is a new spending vehicle, the new budget agreement provides some level of certainty to discretionary spending, which is obviously a good thing for federal officials. And by setting a top-line discretionary number for FY 17, it theoretically provides the framework for actually passing some or all of the FY 17 appropriations bill before the end of the fiscal year. Bear in mind, however, that the 2013 Ryan-Murray agreement provided the same sort of framework for the FY 15 appropriations bills, and in the end Congress passed zero of them.