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No FECA Cuts in Budget Employee Groups, House Dems Urge President

Since being included in President George W. Bush’s fiscal year 2003 budget, both Presidents Bush and Obama have included provisions in their budget submissions to reduce the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act’s (FECA) basic compensation benefit for injured employees.

The proposals would lower the benefit from 66.67 percent to 50 percent once a worker reaches retirement age and eliminate augmented FECA compensation for recipients with dependents.

Ahead of the finalization of President Obama’s last budget request to Congress, employee groups and federal workforce advocates on Capitol Hill wrote to the President and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), respectively, asking that the provisions they viewed as onerous in the Administration’s budget submission be reformulated or removed.

A letter to the President from nearly 20 members of the Federal-Postal Coalition (FPC), a coalition of federal and postal labor unions and professional associations, argues that “simply put, the DOL proposals to reduce FECA benefits in your previous budgets rely on the erroneous assumption that current benefits are overly generous compared to typical federal retirement benefits.”

The FPC letter cites Government Accountability Office (GAO) analysis that found that under current law, an individual with a 30-year career would see a FECA benefit “on par or 10 percent less than the median FERS retirement benefit package, depending on TSP contributions,” leading the FPC to argue that “an additional reduction in benefits – as your budgets have proposed – would only make this existing inequity worse.”

The letter argues that while the President’s FECA proposal is intended to “improve equity between those with and without dependents, in practice, it would do the opposite.”

Similarly, in a letter from four House Democrats, including Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), Ranking Member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce, Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Ranking Member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, to OMB Director Shaun Donovan, the lawmakers cite GAO evidence and multiple congressional hearings on the topic of FECA to urge the Administration to “not advance policies that make workers worse off than if they had not been injured while working for the federal government.” 

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