GOP budget bills aim to bolster DoD funding, cut government waste

Republicans on Capitol Hill released their Fiscal Year 2016 budget plans this week in response to President Barack Obama’s plan, which the White Hourse released in February.

From a federal employee perspective, the GOP plans are a bit of a mixed bag.

The $3.8 trillion House plan, which was released on Tuesday, calls for all federal employees to contribute 6.6 percent of their pay to the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS).

Under the current, FY 2015 budget, anyone hired before 2013 contributes 0.8 percent to the FERS. Federal employees hired in 2013 contribute 3.1 percent to their defined benefit pension. Employees hired in 2014 are required to contribute 4.4 percent. So, the House bill means an increase for everyone, regardless of when they were hired.

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The Senate budget plan, which Chairman Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) of the Senate Committee on the Budget released on Wednesday, doesn’t mention any change to federal employees’ retirement contributions.

Unlike President Obama’s budget proposal, which offers a 1.3 percent pay raise for federal employees, neither of the GOP bills mentions a salary increase for feds.

Congressional Democrats, on the other hand, have proposed a 3.8 percent pay increase for federal employees.

Both the House and Senate budget plans seek to increase spending for the Department of Defense.

“We adhere to the current law funding cap in Fiscal Year 2016 while increasing funding in the years to follow — spending at levels above the president’s suggested defense budget in the outyears beyond FY 2016, including $22 billion above the President’s Five Year Defense Plan and $151 billion above the ten-year totals,” House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) wrote in his summary of the House plan. “This would also be $387 billion above the ten year total under the current path.”

The House GOP plan increases DoD’s Overseas Contingency Operations fund in FY2016 by $36 billion

In contrast, the Senate plan adds $38 billion to the $58 billion President Obama proposed to support anti-terror operations overseas.

In the area of cutting government spending, the House plan would trim $759 billion from the operating budgets of non-Defense agencies. The Senate plan would make similar cuts to non-Defense agencies’ operating budgets, but at a lower level — $236 billion.

Like the House bill, the Senate bill promises to balance the budget in 10 years, mainly by limiting spending growth and repealing the Affordable Care Act.

“The President’s 2010 health care law is now under review by the U.S. Supreme Court and a decision will be announced after the budget process is complete. The court’s decision could significantly alter the levels of spending in the budget resolution,” Enzi wrote, in a release. “Consequently, the Senate Republican budget includes reconciliation instructions for health care, but the actual contours of that legislation are unknowable at this time. By adopting this new budget, Republicans can repeal the President’s health law and the committees of jurisdiction can continue to work on plans to replace it.”

The Senate plan also includes language addressing oversight of government performance.

“In the Senate, all committees are directed to review programs and tax expenditures within their jurisdiction to identify waste, fraud, abuse or duplication, and increase the use of performance data to inform committee work,” the legislation says. “Committees are also directed to review the matters for congressional consideration identified on the Government Accountability Office’s High Risk list and the annual report to reduce program duplication.”

The legislation directs committees to use this data to inform recommendations within their annual reports on how agencies can improve their performance and reduce duplication.

The Associated Press contributed to the content of this story.

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