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house Bill H.R. 322

Should Members of Congress Not Get a Taxpayer-Funded Pension?

Argument in favor

Pensions are a rarity in modern times for private sector workers, and it makes no sense for taxpayers to foot the bill to pay pensions to members of Congress, especially when lawmakers can increase their own benefits.

Jacob's Opinion
···
08/19/2017
I like Warren Buffet's idea - as soon as there's a budget deficit of a certain amount of GDP, they are ineligible for reelection and lose their pension. The national debt will go away real fast that way.
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Brendan's Opinion
···
08/19/2017
Congressmen and women already earn an exorbitant amount of money from their job. I'd much rather my taxes go to education, our crumbling infrastructure, our broken prison system, and more. There's a plethora of things our taxes could buy to improve our country instead of bulk up the government's already hefty wallet. You're a public servant, it's not supposed to be a lucrative career.
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Jim's Opinion
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08/19/2017
Considering they are all independently wealthy I see no need!!
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Argument opposed

Pension plans for members of Congress may seem like an excessive perk, but they help provide a living for lawmakers and their families after their time as a legislator has ended.

Andy1's Opinion
···
08/19/2017
It's really easy to hate on congress right now, but we need to encourage people to run. The situation is even worse in state legislatures- only those that are already wealthy can afford to serve. That's not right
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Laura's Opinion
···
08/19/2017
While I would agree the generosity of the salaries, expense accounts and pensions for members of Congress are all due for review and should be subjected to the same belt- tightening as the rest of us I cannot agree they should be completely denied their pensions. Here's two arguments in support of my position. For starters, one of the reoccurring themes of those who support this measure is the trend in the private (and now even public) sector away from pensions. Do you believe this is a healthy turn of events for American workers? I certainly do not. This trend dramatically favors businesses and CEOs over workers and has led to financial instability for workers and our nation. Good union jobs and reliable pensions built this nation's middle class. Promoting the elimination of pensions for Congress would establish an undeniable precedent that could be the final nail in the coffin of the middle and working class. Additionally, I believe this proposal is one catering to the current level of disapproval for Congress and government in general. I get it. I'm pissed off and disappointed as well. But even though I abhor the tone and direction of this Congress I respect the legislature as a branch of government as a founding and sustaining pillar of our republic. In this day and time we cannot expect a person to devote themselves to such work without reasonable compensation. (Not that current compensation isn't excessive rather than reasonable.) To do so would be to guarantee and solidify the take over of the oligarchy as only the very wealthiest in our society or those sponsored by them would ever again hold a seat in Congress. This is practically already the case (thanks to citizens united) and the very situation we should be fighting against. We need to get private money out of politics, not insure it's control and influence in perpetuity. The solution to our dilemma is not punishing politicians by taking away their pensions. This only encourages colluding with big money. The answer is increasing accountability through (1.) prohibiting or at least greatly restricting lobbying and association with lobbyists both while in office and after leaving Congress; (2.) significant, meaningful campaign finance reform with some real teeth in it; (3.) TERM LIMITS and (4.) the elimination of gerrymandering which has resulted in an imbalanced, non-representative Congress who no longer feels any compulsion to listen to the folks back home.
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Eric's Opinion
···
08/19/2017
Working class people need to be able to serve in Congress without disrupting their plans for retirement. As long as the benefits are tied to the number or years of service, it is appropriate. This is a drop in the bucket Not going to fix the deficit by taking benefits away from public employees. Term limits is a much more important reform, but Congress won't vote for that.
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What is House Bill H.R. 322?

This bill — known as the EPIC Act — would exclude members of Congress (except the vice president) from further coverage the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and the Federal Employees’ Retirement System (FERS) through which they’re currently entitled to receive a pension. It would prohibit future contributions or deductions from a member’s pay to be deposited into the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund, although benefits accrued up until the date of enactment would still be paid out. Lawmakers

Nothing in this bill could:

  • Be considered as nullifying, modifying, or otherwise affecting any right, entitlement, or benefit under CSRS or FERS for any member covering any period before the bill’s enactment.

  • Affect the eligibility of a member to participate in the Thrift Savings Plan in accordance with applicable law.

This bill’s full title is the End Pensions in Congress Act.

Impact

Taxpayers; members of Congress and their families; and federal pension administrators.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 322

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthSponsoring Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), who declined his pension when he took office, introduced this bill to end congressional pensions for all future members as well as those currently serving who aren’t vested into the congressional retirement plan:

“Taxpayer-funded pensions for members of Congress are a relic of a bygone era and constitute a waste of taxpayer funds. Taxpayer-funded pensions promote careerism in Congress and shield retired members of Congress from living and working under the laws that they pass. Ending pensions for members of Congress will help reform the culture of Washington and will help to drain the swamp.”

This legislation has the support of four Republican cosponsors in the House.


Of Note: Members of Congress are eligible for CSRS and FERS at age 62 if they've completed five years of service, at age 50 following 20 years of service, or at any age after 25 years of service. The amount of the pension depends on years of service and the average of the highest three years of salary, and the starting amount of their annuity may not exceed 80 percent of his or her final salary.

According to the Social Security Administration, from 1980 through 2008 the proportion of private sector workers participating in defined benefit pension plans fell from 38 percent to 20 percent.

Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: Speaker.gov / Public Domain)

AKA

End Pensions in Congress Act

Official Title

To amend title 5, United States Code, to provide for the termination of certain retirement benefits for Members of Congress, except the right to continue participating in the Thrift Savings Plan, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Administration
      Committee on Oversight and Reform
    IntroducedJanuary 5th, 2017
    I like Warren Buffet's idea - as soon as there's a budget deficit of a certain amount of GDP, they are ineligible for reelection and lose their pension. The national debt will go away real fast that way.
    Like (285)
    Follow
    Share
    It's really easy to hate on congress right now, but we need to encourage people to run. The situation is even worse in state legislatures- only those that are already wealthy can afford to serve. That's not right
    Like (107)
    Follow
    Share
    Congressmen and women already earn an exorbitant amount of money from their job. I'd much rather my taxes go to education, our crumbling infrastructure, our broken prison system, and more. There's a plethora of things our taxes could buy to improve our country instead of bulk up the government's already hefty wallet. You're a public servant, it's not supposed to be a lucrative career.
    Like (202)
    Follow
    Share
    Considering they are all independently wealthy I see no need!!
    Like (138)
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    Let them fund their own damn retirement since they aren't excluded from insider trading and most leave office as millionaires anyway. And while we're at it, let's lower their pay to reflect what most working class Americans make AND stop their ability to give themselves a raise. Oh, and add term limits to keep the crazies like McConnell and Ryan from pushing their personal agendas and ruining the country.
    Like (113)
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    I have no problem with compensation during their service, but this was not to become a job, merely temporary service. A pension is not necessary, it's a temporary job. Serve, get back in the workplace, support yourselves.
    Like (92)
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    I was thrilled when I got a 3% employer match to the money of my own that I put into 401k. It is time the govt stop funding retired employees. This is taxpayer money, seems like the taxpayer should have something to say about it.
    Like (80)
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    Pensions are a rarity in modern times for private sector workers, and Congress has made it more difficult for the regular Joe to get a pension on lots of fronts, including Social Security which WE PAY INTO. It makes no sense for taxpayers to foot the bill to pay pensions to members of Congress, THEY SHOULD PAY IN WHILE THEY ARE IN CONGRESS & their pension based on how much they paid in, just like the rest of us do. What is really wrong is that lawmakers can increase their own benefits. That needs to STOP.
    Like (45)
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    Let's see how they do on social security
    Like (37)
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    Honestly, why should my taxes give them a pension???!!! What about ME and the rest of the people. There's no one out there giving me anything towards my retirement!!!
    Like (36)
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    While I would agree the generosity of the salaries, expense accounts and pensions for members of Congress are all due for review and should be subjected to the same belt- tightening as the rest of us I cannot agree they should be completely denied their pensions. Here's two arguments in support of my position. For starters, one of the reoccurring themes of those who support this measure is the trend in the private (and now even public) sector away from pensions. Do you believe this is a healthy turn of events for American workers? I certainly do not. This trend dramatically favors businesses and CEOs over workers and has led to financial instability for workers and our nation. Good union jobs and reliable pensions built this nation's middle class. Promoting the elimination of pensions for Congress would establish an undeniable precedent that could be the final nail in the coffin of the middle and working class. Additionally, I believe this proposal is one catering to the current level of disapproval for Congress and government in general. I get it. I'm pissed off and disappointed as well. But even though I abhor the tone and direction of this Congress I respect the legislature as a branch of government as a founding and sustaining pillar of our republic. In this day and time we cannot expect a person to devote themselves to such work without reasonable compensation. (Not that current compensation isn't excessive rather than reasonable.) To do so would be to guarantee and solidify the take over of the oligarchy as only the very wealthiest in our society or those sponsored by them would ever again hold a seat in Congress. This is practically already the case (thanks to citizens united) and the very situation we should be fighting against. We need to get private money out of politics, not insure it's control and influence in perpetuity. The solution to our dilemma is not punishing politicians by taking away their pensions. This only encourages colluding with big money. The answer is increasing accountability through (1.) prohibiting or at least greatly restricting lobbying and association with lobbyists both while in office and after leaving Congress; (2.) significant, meaningful campaign finance reform with some real teeth in it; (3.) TERM LIMITS and (4.) the elimination of gerrymandering which has resulted in an imbalanced, non-representative Congress who no longer feels any compulsion to listen to the folks back home.
    Like (32)
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    Absolutely no pension, sorry. Congress members are well compensated for their time in office. A pension is ridiculous.
    Like (23)
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    No one should be running for congress for monetary reasons.
    Like (23)
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    Yes they should be off taxpayer payroll. They already have huge salaries and benefits that exceed anything reasonable -- the latter should be reduced significantly also. Their medical benefits should not exceed the typical current coverages available to most citizens now working.
    Like (23)
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    Working class people need to be able to serve in Congress without disrupting their plans for retirement. As long as the benefits are tied to the number or years of service, it is appropriate. This is a drop in the bucket Not going to fix the deficit by taking benefits away from public employees. Term limits is a much more important reform, but Congress won't vote for that.
    Like (19)
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    They should have the same retirement prospects we all do. Maybe then they would make social security better.
    Like (17)
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    Remember "Taxation without Representation"? I believe we fought a war over that concept. Seriously, I see no reason why I should pay for someone else's retirement. I worked all my life, only to retire with my Social Security - which if I still had to make a house/car payment - would not suffice. So, if Congress dies not want to contribute to MY retirement, I don't want to supply theirs!
    Like (16)
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    They should work with the same options that all American's have now. It's not what you earn it's what you save in your 401K. Maybe matching up to 3%. Join the real world and understand what it's like to live as everyone else does.
    Like (16)
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    They should also not have medical insurance funded 100% - if they do. They should have Obama care
    Like (16)
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    The point was to go WORK FOR THE PEOPLE, then go back to the private life and work like the rest of the citizens. NOT, work for yourself and benefit off of the rest of the citizens of the country.
    Like (14)
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