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NARFE Reaction to President Trump’s FY19 Budget: The Unprecedented Attacks on Federal Employees and Retirees Continue


February 12, 2018

Alexandria, VA – The National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) President Richard G. Thissen issued the following statement following the release of President Trump’s fiscal year 2019 (FY19) budget request to Congress:

“This budget request is a continuation of unprecedented attacks on the earned pay and benefits of our nation’s public servants by this White House. The budget proposals undermine the value of years of dedicated work by those who proudly served their country and break implicit promises made to these men and women in exchange for their employment.

“President Trump has long touted his support of America’s middle class, yet this sentiment does not hold true for public servants. This budget singles out federal workers by implementing a pay freeze, which is perplexing given the president’s continual praise of the strong economy and rising wage growth. Denying a modest pay raise during a time of economic prosperity demonstrates disdain for federal workers and needlessly punishes middle-class households. I urge Congress to intervene and authorize a reasonable pay raise in the appropriations process. 

“While the president has touted how his tax overhaul will deliver tax cuts for Americans, those cuts would soon vanish for federal workers through his proposed increase in retirement contributions. Money that was set to flow back to federal workers – like all Americans – will be quickly stripped away for no additional benefit.

“At a time the president is touting American workers, this budget separates federal workers, including the more than 30 percent of current federal workers who are veterans, from the rest of the nation. It is disrespectful to and disparages the commitment of those who served in our armed forces and continued their public service as civilian federal workers.

“During the president’s campaign, he often spoke of defending earned government retirement benefits, such as Social Security, but he has once again denied these protections for federal annuitants. Reducing and eliminating cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for those already retired and living on fixed incomes stands in stark contrast with the promises the president continually made. It crosses a well-understood line for retirees and puts them further behind in a world of rising healthcare premiums and other costs. No retiree should have to face such threats.

“If our country is to continue to be great, then we must be able to recruit and retain the best and brightest. I remind the president that America’s greatest strength is in its people. The same can be said for the federal workforce. If the administration continues to belittle public service, we will be left without the necessary skills to face future challenges. It is clear that this budget is not the path forward.”

NARFE objects to the following fiscal year 2019 budget proposals, which amount to $152.5 billion in cuts to earned federal benefits:

•    Eliminating COLAs for current and future Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) retirees.
•    Reducing COLAs for Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) retirees by 0.5 percent each year from what it would have been otherwise. When combined with the elimination of the FERS COLA, this would cost federal retirees $50.2 billion over 10 years, and much more thereafter.
•    Federal employees covered under FERS would see employee contributions to their annuities increased by 1 percent each year for the next six years, without any corresponding benefit increase. This will cost FERS employees $68.7 billion over the next 10 years, and more thereafter.
•    The earned and fully funded FERS Annuity Supplement would be eliminated for new retirees. This would cost federal retirees $18.7 billion over the next 10 years.
•    Reducing the rate of return on the Thrift Savings Plan’s Government Securities Investment (G) Fund. This would cost federal employees and retirees, as well as military personnel and veterans, $8.9 billion over the next 10 years.
•    Federal pensions for new retirees would be based on the average of the highest five years of salary instead of the highest three. This would cost federal retirees $5.9 billion over the next 10 years.
•    Freezing federal employee pay in calendar year 2019.
•    Reduction of total paid time off by combining sick and annual leave into one pool. This proposal has the potential to decrease annuities, as unused sick leave is counted towards creditable service.
•    Reducing working and retirement-age benefits for federal workers disabled through their service ($117 million over 10 years).

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The National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE), one of America’s oldest and largest associations, was founded in 1921 with the mission of protecting the earned rights and benefits of America’s active and retired federal workers. The largest federal employee/retiree organization, NARFE represents the interests of 5 million current and future federal annuitants, spouses and survivors.


National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association
NARFE (National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association)
606 N. Washington St., Alexandria, VA 22314, Phone: (703) 838-7760, Fax: (703) 838-7785.

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