Senator: Sharply cutting worker pensions, including for 50,000 Missourians, mid-career or mid-retirement isn’t fair

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill recently called on the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to maintain retirement benefits for 2.6 million federal workers, approximately 50,000 of whom live and work in Missouri. She joined 25 of her Senate colleagues in writing a letter to OPM Director Jeff Pon, following his announcement that the Administration plans to freeze federal employee pay and cut retirement benefits for millions of current and future federal retirees over the next ten years.

“When hardworking Missourians work jobs, often for decades, with the guarantee of a modest pension—sharply cutting it mid-career or mid-retirement isn’t fair,” said McCaskill, the top-ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “I’m committed to working with the Administration to find ways to cut down on waste, fraud, and abuse without taking away the pensions we promised to millions of workers.”

In the letter, the Senators expressed concern that OPM was not taking a comprehensive approach in balancing the budget: “Together, the proposals you have made would cut $143 billion over ten years from federal employee retirement programs, while offering nothing to employees in their place. We fear that these cuts are motivated by an ongoing effort to balance the budget on the backs of federal workers rather than an effort to provide a comprehensive approach to modernizing federal employee compensation.”

McCaskill has long been an advocate for Missouri workers. Earlier this year, she met with members of the Missouri United Steelworkers Union to discuss the importance of supporting manufacturing jobs in Missouri and keeping pension promises. Last year, she introduced the Butch Lewis Act, which would create a new office within the Treasury Department that would allow pension plans to borrow the money they need to remain solvent and continue providing retirement security for retirees and workers for decades to come, and all without cuts to pensions.

McCaskill has also been a strong supporter and cosponsor of the Keep Our Pension Promises Act, which would repeal the law that allows for massive pension cuts, and she was the only member of the Missouri Congressional delegation to vote against legislation that allowed for those deep cuts to retiree benefits for the 32,000 Missourians who participate in the Central States Pension Fund