Congress has ordered the president’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to find a way to pay for the $63 million a year in new spending for benefits of same-sex partners of federal employees. John Berry, director of the OPM, announced the decision last year to extend the benefits.
In a hearing before a Senate appropriations subcommittee, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said, “ it’s been five months and we’re still waiting for those offsets, which is preventing the bill from being taken up on the Senate floor.”
Family advocates explain that it doesn’t matter whether there’s enough money because it violates the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). “Under an administration determined to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, Berry’s move takes a wrecking ball to DOMA,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. “If the decision doesn’t violate the letter of the law, it certainly violates the spirit.”
He said the decision has “immediate economic consequences at a time when America simply cannot afford more government spending.
“Back in 2003, even the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force had to cut its domestic partner program in half because it was ‘too expensive,'” he said. “That was for a small office. Imagine the costs for a workforce of 1.9 million.”