Statement on Signing the Federal Employees' Retirement System Act of 1986

June 6, 1986

I am pleased to sign today H.R. 2672, the Federal Employees' Retirement System Act of 1986. H.R. 2672 establishes a new retirement system for Federal employees hired since 1983. These employees have been covered under Social Security because of the 1983 Social Security Amendments, but there has been no retirement system in place to supplement Social Security for them.

H.R. 2672 fills this void by establishing a defined benefit plan and an optional thrift savings plan, which, in combination with Social Security, will provide attractive retirement benefits for Federal employees at a reasonable cost. The modern, comprehensive retirement program resulting from this bill is modeled after some of the better private sector plans. The enactment of this landmark legislation has been a major accomplishment that could not have been achieved without the efforts of many Members of Congress and representatives of the executive branch. I particularly want to salute Senators Roth, Stevens, and Eagleton, and Representatives Ford, Taylor, and Oakar for their tireless efforts during the last several years to design a new retirement plan that is fair both to Federal employees and taxpayers. This formidable goal has been accomplished with the enactment of H.R. 2672.

Although I strongly support the overall approach of H.R. 2672, some provisions of this legislation present problems, mostly technical or administrative, which may require future correction. In addition, I must object to the sections of H.R. 2672 that purport to give the Comptroller General authority to establish procedures for depositing monies into the Treasury to the credit of the Thrift Savings Fund; for example, 5 U.S.C. 8422(c), 8423(a) (4) 8432(f), and 22 U.S.C. 856(c). The grant to the Comptroller General, an officer of the Congress, of the authority to bind the Executive raises serious constitutional concerns relating to the separation of powers. The Attorney General is presently conducting litigation that challenges grants of Executive authority to the Comptroller General in several respects. I am therefore requesting that agencies responsible for administering the provisions of H.R. 2672 seek the advice of the Department of Justice in order to implement these provisions in a constitutional manner. Despite these concerns, I am very gratified to be able to sign this historic legislation.

Note: H.R. 2672, approved June 6, was assigned Public Law No. 99 - 335.