Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Senate vote on same-sex benefits 'within weeks'

What annoys me about this piece is that it Issa as calling this a "new benefit" for federal employees. This is not a "new benefit." It is the extension of an existing benefit to people who have been unjustly denied. Why should I not be allowed to leave my pension to my wife when my straight colleague can leave his to his wife? And why should my job not provide insurance to my wife if it would provide it to my co-worker's husband?

So fingers crossed that this passes.

Senate vote on same-sex benefits 'within weeks'

The Senate could vote on a bill extending fringe benefits to the same-sex partners of gay federal employees "within weeks" and well before July 4, according to aides to Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.).

The Nutmeg State senator is lead sponsor of the measure, which would cost an estimated $310 million through 2020, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

That's a notable, but not terribly hefty price tag by Washington standards, and Lieberman is fine with the anticipated cost.

This legislation would cost about two-hundredths of a percent of the federal government’s overall costs for the civilian workforce," Lieberman said Tuesday. "That is a very small price to pay for the improvements we would see in recruitment, retention, and morale. OPM has committed to provide an offset for the legislation before it is enacted, making it that much more reasonable.”

Indeed those offsets -- first requested by Lieberman and Senate Republicans in December -- aren't ready yet and won't be until Lieberman is ready to introduce the bill to the full Senate, according to an OPM spokesman.

Lieberman's bill may win some Republican votes, but a House version passed last year with no GOP support. The House bill also covers eligible federal retirees, giving it a heftier price tag that the GOP considers unacceptable.

"At a time when unemployment is at 9.9 percent, it’s absurd that Democrats would push a costly new benefit for federal employees when so many Americans in the private sector are out of work," said Frederick Hill, a spokesman for Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which first approved the benefits bill. "This legislation is a good example of how this Congress and administration have neglected efforts to rein-in spending and create jobs in favor of an agenda to satisfy their political base."


Destinaish Unknown said...

It seems like people never comment on your LGBT posts. I find these both valuable and encouraging as I'm trying to enter the service myself, as a young out gay male, and was encouraged to do so by another who was attempting to enter. Keep it up!

PS: I've been following your blog for a while and it has, along with the recent debate on blogging in the FS, encouraged me to start my own.

Digger said...

I find most people comment on my posts about same-sex issues by emailing me directly. I actually hear from a lot of folks that they like those posts and that my blog has made them more comfortable with the idea of joining the service as an out gay person. I'm glad it serves that purpose, because a lot of people just don't realize that it is very easy to be an out FSO (you can't get much more out than I am at work...complete with my wife's picture on my desk!).