TSP Rule Change Bill Dies in US Senate

November 30, 2004 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - When Congress ended its lame duck session earlier this month, lawmakers had not closed the deal on bills that would revamp rules for the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) and enhance dental and vision benefits for federal employees.

According to a Washington Post report, the US House of Representatives approved a bill with the TSP rule changes, but the Senate got caught up on other issues and ran out of time. The legislation would allow federal employees and military personnel to start or change their thrift plan contributions at any time instead of just during the open seasons held twice a year (See  Congress Working on Ending TSP Open Season ).

A spokeswoman for US Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) said sponsors hope they can get the bill cleared for Senate approval in early December, when the Senate has scheduled a brief session. Nearly 3.4 million federal civil service, postal and military employees participate in the TSP.

Meanwhile, the Senate, on a voice vote, okayed the dental-vision bill, which would create a voluntary insurance program to leverage the purchasing power of the government so federal employees and retirees could purchase insurance coverage at favorable rates. But the House did not take up the bill before shutting down for the holiday, a Collins spokeswoman said.

Under a reform plan, employees and retirees signing up for enhanced dental and vision coverage would be responsible for premium costs so that taxpayers would not be asked to subsidize the coverage, the Post said.