Bill Introduced to Freeze Pay for Federal Employees

By on January 16, 2013 in Current Events, Pay & Benefits with 149 Comments

Congressman Ron DeSantis (R-FL) has introduced a bill that would freeze pay for federal employees and extend a freeze on pay for Members of Congress.

Federal employees have been under a pay freeze since 2010, but the president recently issued an executive order that would give federal workers a 0.5% pay increase beginning this spring.

Vice President Joe Biden is among the federal officials who would see a pay increase under the executive order. This proposed legislation would block a 2.83% pay increase for Biden that would take his annual salary from $225,521 to $231,900.

The pay increase initially included a 0.5% pay raise for members of Congress as well, but that was since overturned with the fiscal cliff deal.

Twenty-eight freshman and veteran lawmakers have signed on to Rep. DeSantis’ bill, H.R. 273, which overturns an across-the-board pay hike that is estimated to cost taxpayers $11 billion in new spending over ten years.

“American families are tightening their belts; Members of Congress and the federal government must do the same. Especially when Congress hasn’t been able to get spending under control or pass a budget in over 1350 days,” said Rep. DeSantis. “My first piece of legislation tackles Congress and our bloated federal government head-on by freezing pay.”

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) also supports the measure, saying,“The President’s pay hike even increases the salary for federal employees who receive poor performance reviews from their own supervisors. As President Obama continues to say one thing and do another on deficit spending, it is appropriate for Congress to challenge his unilateral decision to spend $11 billion on non-merit based pay raises for federal workers.”

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) was opposed to the legislation. He said, “Efforts by House Republicans to constantly use federal employees as a piggy bank – especially when the vast majority of their caucus refuses to ask millionaires to contribute more to reducing our deficit – are unconscionable. We cannot keep asking them to contribute more than their fair share as we work to put our fiscal house in order.”

AFGE also issued a statement against the measure, part of which said, “Federal salaries have not been adjusted since January 2010, and new employees will pay nearly four times more than their coworkers for retirement benefits. Federal pay should not be politicized in this way. The salary freeze along with the threat of furloughs, layoffs and another complete government shutdown are a punishment in search of a crime. Federal employees had no part in the financial crisis and the ensuing recession, and they should not be forced into penury to reduce a deficit they had no part in creating.”

The House has already voted once to retract the pay increase for federal employees, but it never went any further which suggests this bill is likely to have the same fate. The House is scheduled to vote on the bill next week.

© 2016 Ian Smith. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Ian Smith.


About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce. Ian also has a background in web development and does the technical work for the web site and its sibling sites.

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  1. Wicketd54 says:

    It is ironic that Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) is worried about
    the .5% for federal employees with poor performance. I agree with him, in fact,
    we should reduce the employee’s salary to match work performance. I believe
    Congress and the Senate’s approval rate has been 15%. I recommend we cut their
    salary by 85% to match their poor performance. In addition, they should be
    advised if their work ethic does not improve within six months. They should
    resign their position and let those who will do their job to make us a United
    Nation and not a Divided Nation.

  2. AmericanBGirl says:

    Speak AFGE thank you for speaking on our behalf.

  3. marbles says:

    Rep. Darrell Issa , all of you fat cats receive poor performance reviews from your own constituents constantly but I don’t see your salary going down. I don’t see your perks going down. I only see my taxes going up and you and the rest sucking the little people dry. All of you don’t need all the offices, countless aides, and Government vehicles with drivers. Take the train, bus, or walk like the rest of us. I don’t feel your any better than me. You just know how to do a job by not doing a job. Don’t represent me. I’ll stand up for myself. Probably get as far or further than having you and the fat cats aboard. If you want to sit and talk about if, I’m willing.

  4. GetOverIt says:

    Total BS. Employees DO their jobs.  Why are federal employees being penalized because Congress is incompetent?  This is outrageous and unconscionable. 

    But then that’s exactly what we come to expect.  

  5. J. Mattson says:

    As a Federal Employee it is very discouraging to have my pay frozen for another year.   I am the soul income in my household with a handicap husband.  My expenses continue to rise while my pay does not.  This is not just effecting me currently but will  for the rest of my life as my retirement is figured on my top three annual incomes.  I retire soon so this is a direct impact on my future. It is said we make 16% more then the private sector – I worked hard to get this job.  I choose to go back to school with 4 children to be elligible for a position as a Federal Employee, because of the pay.   Why are Congress and the Senate, who by the way are Federal Eemployees, entitled to a raise while I don’t even get the cost of living raise?

  6. Jgmathes says:

    Here is a novel idea: suspend all pay for congress until they pass a budget. No back pay after passing a budget either, this way there would be some urgency on their part.

  7. smokeandmirrors says:

    “American families are tightening their belts; Members of Congress and the federal government must do the same.”

    Umm… Aren’t federal workers “American families”?

  8. HRguru says:

    I wonder if the Senate and President will sign the bill.  Just kidding, I know they will. 

  9. shopgirl111 says:

    There’s no winning with you guys, raise taxes, you cry foul, lower them, you scream about entitlements.  This president is trying his best to help all of us get to where we want to be, as a country and as individuals but because of your psychotic, pathetic, meaningless, partisanship (see ignorance and racism in the dictionary) we can’t get anything done.  We’re too busy paying half of our elected officials so they will fillibuster everything except the kitchen sink.  And the beat goes on, Grover and his cronies will have their way, no matter who it hurts and you will blame it all on Democrats…Our finances are not going to be saved on the backs of the poor or the middle class or both but that’s really unimportant when faced with the thought that you will have an African American president for the next four years and that’s really the issue, regardless of what anyone will admit.  Take away the insane wars that the Bush administration started with outright lies and our financial situation would be be far prettier.  Well, you guys all fall in line now…I can hear the stomp of the jackboots now!  🙂

  10. BigDawg says:

    Window dressing, the real solution which is to do away with the Fraud being perpetrated on all tax paying Americans which is those privately owned Federal Reserve Banks isn’t even discussed. Plus Congress, the Senate, President, VP and their bloated staffs and budgets are what need to be cut as well.

  11. Iobpb63 says:

    Enough is Enough with balancing the Federal Budget on the salaries of the Federal Employees.  Look, no salary should be given to all of Congress as they are the poorest of performers, cut their fringes, cut their limosines out, dont allow them to sleep in their offices.  In all the years I have worked for Federal Government, I have never seen such an imcompentent group not willing to work with the President and blame everyone else for their inactivities.
    We are very dedicated Federal Civil Servants that understand the missions of our agencies and support them to the best of our ability.  We have families, homes, buy groceries, cars and are major consumers in this country.  Give us the cost of living and lets get back to business with considering increases in our salaries because the trickle down consequences will move this economy forward.
    This incompetent Congress person needs to seriously consider the consequences of his actions.  We will remember when November comes around.

  12. OldinVA says:

    I like this idea.

    Winds of Change…. Warren Buffet is asking each addressee to forward
    this message to a minimum of twenty people on their e-mail address list; in turn
    ask each of those to do likewise.
    In three days, most people in The United States of America will have this message.

    This is one idea that really should be passed around

    *Congressional Reform Act of 2013

    1. No Tenure / No Pension.

    A Congressman/woman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they’re out of office.

    2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.

    All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into
    the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.

    3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

    4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise.Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

    5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

    6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

    All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void
    effective 12/31/13. The American people did not make this contract with

    Congressmen/women made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in
    Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their
    term(s), then go home and back to work


  13. akdouglas says:

    Another reason to not vote Republican. They want to make their problem your problem. 

  14. Zon05454 says:

    Unbelievable! But again a thought? Why? Stop this, does anyone have any responsibility to say enough is enough! Economy does effect the normal (upper lower class- lower middle class) of federal employees. I have a btter idea which will not be considered, approached or even mentioned. Allow all CSRS employees to retire (early out) without penalties for retiring before age of 55. This not only reduces size of employees, rduces amount feds need to match in retirement funds, allows new hires at lower salary rate, stirs job growth (even if 1 of 3 hired), and most importantly will satisfy many different groups!

  15. Chutingstar70 says:

    I think congress needs to get their act to geather since they can’t even clean up their own house.  They haven’t passed a budget in 3.7 years and still can’t agree on anything to help the middle class.  We federal workers who work our butts off each and every day, who make less than 100,000.00 should not be burdened by another pay freeze when everything, and I mean everything, in the world is going up around us.  Our buying power has taken a drastic hit in the past two+ years.  For the country’s sake, pass a balanced budget and get on with your job.  This is what the American people put you there for.

  16. HappilyRetiredFed says:

    How many of these bills have been introduced?

    • Soonershooter says:

      To ask Congress to also take a pay freeze or pay reduction is ludicrous, those people are moved to DC to do the work of the people, and they deserve the pay & bennies they get.  Stop blaming Congress, start blaming yourselves for WHO you vote into Congress. 

      • Reside says:

        Members of Congress are getting too much for the amount of work they do.   Their pay and benefits should be more in line with the rest of federal employees…and add the congressional pension fund to SS.  Members of Congress should fear having to survive on $1230/ month, the same as the average retired American worker.  Some seniors spend that much on prescriptions alone.  It’s disgusting to see how little our law makers care for our retired citizens.  We are witnessing the fall of a great country.  

  17. Honeybee60 says:

    This is really terrible!  There are a great many Federal employees who are barely getting by.  Shame on DeSantis!

  18. Timbre says:

    You can cut all federal employee pay by 50% and the United States will still end up just as the former Soviet Union.

  19. Arcturus6 says:

    Let’s look at this realistically;  about the only thing this massive .5% raise for federal employees will do is increase their tax liability.  What is all the fuss about?  Be thankful you have a job as there are a lot of Americans without work who genuinely want to work.  If anyone thinks this politicized .5% raise is going to help, think again.  Obama needs to quit issuing executive orders as if they are “monopoly” money and  look at reality. Right now he is too busy banning firearms but I am sure that soon, he will hop aboard Air Force 1 and take a trip somewhere with Michelle as if he was some Mid-Eastern potentate.  Oh yes, he also gave himself and the former U.S. Presidents “Secret Service” protection for life.  He has really been busy since being re-elected making life a living hell for Americans.  I am reminded of a quote I read some years ago….”The only difference between this place and the Titanic is that the Titanic had a band!” 

  20. formerIRS says:

    This bill is DOA at the Senate. There is no cause for celebration, however, as any raises or the forseeable future should be negligible in any case.

  21. Ross200 says:

    Another issue is whether Darrell Issa will succeed in freezing within grade increases, stay tuned. It will be interesting to see if the legislation being voted on next week contains a WGI freeze provision. 

  22. polanalyst says:

    This is just pure politics. Nobody who is serious about reducing the deficit would waste time attacking fed workers’ compensation. It is a negligible part of the budget-equivalent of a rounding error.

    These politicians don’t have the balls to tell the American public that Medicare (the 3rd rail of politics) is the biggest deficit concern in the future w/all of these new retirees yet less working folks to pay into the system in upcoming years. So there will be some unpopular sacrifices that EVERYONE in OUR GENERATION (roughly anyone below age 55) will probably need to make. It may convert over to a more means-tested system perhaps. It’s unfortunate but fact-we will probably not have the same luxury of entitlement benefits as our parents. But at least it will be a SHARED sacrifice, not just singling out a group for lynching as they have tried to do to the Feds for 3 years.

  23. Winnie Pooh says:

     Excuse me Mr. DeSantis for not having two jobs: Federal Employee & Lobbyist Employee.  I am an American born Federal Employee and I am part of an American family that is tightening it’s belt. Why don’t yall fools in Congress stop accepting Lobbyist bribes and live off your FEDERAL WAGE!

  24. LikeBuffaloWingsALittleTooMuch says:

    If he has a problem with giving raises to poor performers, what doesn’t he introduce a bill to say that poor performers don’t get raises???.

    He’s in… the… freaking… CONGRESS!

  25. Rivercityrandall says:

    Americans are tighting their belts. Doesn’t MR. DeSantis know that federal workers are American also. Maybe he thinks we are part of the hire an illegal,government program.

  26. Retired Fed says:

    What bothers me most is that Rep. DiSantis doesn’t seem to know the difference between a COLA and a pay increase. Someone with his limited knowledge should not be sitting in a seat where economic decisions and budgets are discussed or voted in.

  27. 711oscar says:

    Half of the San Juan, Puerto Rico, Multifamily Housing staff retired at the end of the year. 17 folks saying goodbye and good luck. HUD announced that it will not hire replacements for anyone who retires, and that some of the workload for the SJ office will now be shipped to Atlanta. Not hiring replacements would be like a McDonald’s running out of french fries and then not ordering anymore ever. This is an obvious attempt by contractors to take all of our jobs, with the D.C. brainless trust in total agreement, getting payoffs most likely in doing so. Project managers for MFH are being stuck with over 100 projects to keep up with on a monthly basis. That is impossible. The stress and strain of the added work had one of our office’s employees go into his supervisors office and say, “I’m outta here.” I would be outta here too but since I’m a GS-7 I will never be able to retire.

  28. Howepj says:

    Why would Biden get a 2.83% raise when everyone else would get .5%?  I guess it’s good to be the king (and the king’s whipping boy).