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Same-sex benefits cost $310M over 10 years


May 18, 2010

WASHINGTON (UPI) -- Legislation that would offer benefits for same-sex partners of federal employees would cost $310 million over 10 years, the Congressional Budget Office said.

The CBO said the legislation would increase direct spending by $101 million from 2010 to 2015, and by $310 million by 2020, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

"CBO assumes that about 0.33 percent of federal employees would choose to register a same-sex domestic partnership if given the opportunity," the agency said in its May 11 report. "That figure is based on information previously gathered from state and local governments as well as more recent research on the experience of organizations that have adopted similar policies."

CBO's estimate could hamper efforts to pass the bill this year, especially since congressional Republicans and Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, Ind-Conn., expressed concerns about the measure's possible price tag.

Lieberman heads the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which already approved the bill. In December he cited Office of Personnel Management figures indicating the measure would add $63 million annually.

President Barack Obama in June endorsed the bill when he extended some benefits to the same-sex partners of federal workers, including coverage by the long-term-care insurance program for federal employees and allowing employees to use sick leave to care for their partners.



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