Federal, Congressional Pay Freeze Bill To Be Considered By House This Week
The Washington Post
Ed O'Keefe and Eric Yoder
January 30, 2012
The House is scheduled to vote Wednesday on a new bill that would freeze the salaries of federal employees, lawmakers and congressional staffers for another year.
The bill, introduced Friday by Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.), goes against the wishes of the White House, which hopes to increase federal civilian worker salaries by 0.5 percent next year, but is consistent with congressional Republican efforts to curtail government spending in part by freezing or reducing government salaries.
Wednesday’s vote is scheduled to be on a motion to suspend the rules and permit a full House vote on the bill without consideration by relevant committees. Normally, a bill regarding federal employee and congressional pay would be referred to the House Oversight and Government Reform and Administration committees.
Virtually nobody collecting a federal paycheck has seen a pay bump in recent years. Obama froze the salaries of top West Wing staffers and political officials after taking office in 2009. On Capitol Hill, lawmakers and their staffs have not had a raise in four of the past six years.
Federal worker unions have opposed any attempts to continue the two-year freeze in cost of living adjustments for federal employees, and though President Obama’s 2013 budget request is slated to include the 0.5 percent pay increase proposal, union leaders have warned members to expect further attempts to continue the freeze or to cut federal salaries.
During last year’s debate over extending the payroll tax credit, House and Senate Republicans proposed spending cuts that would have extended the pay freeze for one more year and forced workers to pay more for their federal retirement plans and separate plans to cut the federal workforce by 10 percent in the next decade by attrition.
Though such proposals are normally introduced by conservative Republican lawmakers, more moderate senators have said that the pay freeze should continue for at least one more year.