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.
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