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Study: Congressional Retirees Reap Huge Taxpayer-Funded Pensions
For Immediate Release January 6, 2005
(Alexandria, VA) -- Thanks to a generous pension system, life after Congress can be a lot more lucrative: that's the conclusion of a study released today by the National Taxpayers Union Foundation (NTUF), a research group known for its detailed estimates on Congressional retirement benefits. A total of 38 former Senators and Representatives from the 108th Congress qualify for taxpayer-funded pensions, with former Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD) leading the pack at a projected $5 million lifetime payout.
"Even as most Americans face high taxes and other roadblocks to their own retirement, Members of Congress have paved a smooth path for their golden years," said NTUF President John Berthoud. "Too bad taxpayers are supplying most of the gold."
According to the study -- whose results were reported today in an Associated Press story -- 38 former House and Senate Members from the 108th Congress amassed sufficient service to qualify for a pension. Among the highlights:
Members of Congress are covered under the two major retirement systems that include most federal employees, but lawmakers enjoy better pension formulas and eligibility rules than rank-and-file workers (participation is voluntary). In addition, Congressional pensions are two to three times more generous than those offered to similarly-paid executives in the private sector; one reason is a yearly COLA that few businesses offer. Individual pension amounts for Members of Congress are not a matter of public record. However, NTUF utilizes data on lawmakers' service, eligibility, and life expectancies to provide the most accurate calculations of pensions possible.
NTUF is the non-partisan research arm of the 350,000-member National Taxpayers Union. Note: The full report on pensions for 108th Congress retirees is available at www.ntu.org.