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Union to highway bill conferees: Steer clear of government workers' pensions

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Some lawmakers have suggested increasing the contribution federal workers have pay into their pensions as a way to raise money for the transportation bill.

The House had proposed increasing domestic oil drilling to help pay for it's originally proposal for a bill that would have spent $260 billion over  five years on transportation, but the Senate approved a package of funding mechanisms that included several smaller sources to pay for the two-year, $109 billion version of the bill that was approved by the upper chamber.

The pension plan has not been formally included in either chamber's transportation proposal, but Kelley said it has been suggested in other deficit reduction efforts.

In every case, Kelley said it was unfair to target federal workers to find extra money for road projects, although NTEU supports the passage of a multi-year transportation bill.

“No one gets rich on a federal employee pension,”  Kelley said. "Changing the employee contribution without changing the benefits in a similar way is simply a tax on federal employees." 

Lawmakers have said little about the ongoing negotiations over the highway bill, but House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) has said members conference will be breaking into "working groups" to tackle individual issues such as the funding mechanisms this week.