WASHINGTON – Arkansas Rep. Tim Griffin said Wednesday that he plans to broaden legislation he introduced in November to end pensions not only for members of Congress but all newly hired federal workers.

WASHINGTON – Arkansas Rep. Tim Griffin said Wednesday that he plans to broaden legislation he introduced in November to end pensions not only for members of Congress but all newly hired federal workers.

“I’m working on EPIC plus,” Griffin, R-Little Rock, told reporters after appearing before a House oversight panel to testify about his End Pensions in Congress Act.

Griffin’s initial proposal would eliminate pensions for new members of Congress, which Griffin said is a necessary first step in tackling the bolder proposal of reforming the pension program for federal employees.

“I believe that the EPIC Act is necessary because Congress needs to lead by example,” Griffin told the panel.

Congress could not credibly ask federal employees to give up their pension plan if lawmakers are unwilling to give up their own, said Griffin.

Eliminating Congressional pensions would do little to address the nation’s $15 trillion debt but cutting pensions to federal employees would save “hundreds of billions of dollars,” he said.

Griffin said that federal workers could still contribute to a Thrift Savings plan that is set up similarly to 401K savings plans that many private sector employers offer.

Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., who chairs the oversight panel, said they are considering options for reforming the entire federal pension system to bring it more in line with the private sector.

Ross also acknowledged that it would be important to ensure that members of Congress are treated no better than other federal employees.

Griffin said that it has been a challenge to garner co-sponsors of the EPIC bill. He has 14, including Ross, but others are reluctant to simply cut their own pensions. Griffin does not participate in the pension program.

Some colleagues, he said, have told him they would support the bill if it were broadened to include federal employees – hence his decision to pursue EPIC Plus.

“The American people are expecting bold leadership not tweaking at the edges and this qualifies as something that no one would expect us to do,” Griffin said. “I am going to keep pushing.”