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Connolly Reintroduces Equal COLA Act

Today, Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Information Technology, and Government Innovation, reintroduced the Equal COLA Act. The legislation aims to bring equity to the way the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) is determined under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). 

The Equal COLA Act would make the annual COLA for both the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) equivalent to the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). This change would institute long-overdue parity between the two federal retirement systems and result in a more just retirement benefits system for all federal workers.

“This two-tiered system fails to protect FERS retirees who are living on a fixed income,” said Connolly. “This legislation will rectify this unfair system and ensure these dedicated public servants are protected throughout their retirement.”

The Equal COLA Act is endorsed by the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) and the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU).

"The time has come for parity in how cost-of-living increases are calculated for federal retirees. The Equal COLA Act from Sen. Padilla and Rep. Connolly is exactly the right solution, by making sure that FERS and CSRS annuitants are treated equally and fairly when economic conditions require a cost-of-living increase for these retired civil servants. NTEU strongly supports this legislation because it honors their public service and provides the secure retirement they deserve,” said Tony Reardon, National President of the National Treasury Employees Union.

"The Equal COLA Act would ensure federal retirees maintain the value of their retirement annuities, earned through careers in public service, by providing full COLAs to FERS retirees. Unfortunately, when inflation is high, as it has been recently, FERS retirees only receive a diet COLA, reduced by as much as 1 percentage point. This may not seem like a lot at first glance, but when the reduction compounds year after year, it may cost an average FERS retiree tens of thousands of dollars over the course of their retirement - and even more for some. Federal retirees are fortunate that Congressman Connolly is leading the way to rectify this inequity, and NARFE looks forward to working with him to continue to build support for this bill,” said William Shackelfor, National President of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.

Text of the Equal COLA Act is available here.

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