House Votes to Extend Pay Freeze (Again)

By on February 15, 2013 in Current Events, Pay & Benefits with 165 Comments

The House voted today 261-154 to extend the pay freeze on the federal workforce.

H.R. 273 would overturn the 0.5% pay increase set to take effect this spring. The pay increase was announced last December via executive order. The House has previously voted to block the pay freeze, so today’s vote comes as little surprise.

House Republicans have said the measure will save $11 billion and that federal workers are already overpaid relative to their private sector counterparts which makes blocking the pay increase a logical move.

DeSantis released the following statement upon passage of the bill:

When American families are tightening their belts in order to make ends meet, the federal government must do the same. The bipartisan passage of this bill is a great step toward tackling our fiscal deficiencies and Obama’s overspending head-on. This bill is not a reflection of the fine work done by many federal employees, but is simply a recognition of our current fiscal situation. I’m proud my very first piece of legislation proves the U.S. House is serious about putting our nation on a sustainable fiscal path.

Speaking on the vote, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said:

Families can’t be asked to foot the bill for automatic government pay raises when their wages are stagnant, prices are rising, and jobs are hard to come by. These kinds of measures might not be necessary if Senate Democrats had passed a budget at any point in the last four years, or if the president would submit a responsible budget to Congress on time. But until Washington gets serious about addressing its spending problem, and stops making it harder for small businesses to hire, the federal government shouldn’t be giving itself an across-the-board pay raise.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) added, “Federal workers already make 16% more than those in the private sector. Even during the current federal pay freeze, the average federal salary increased by more than $3,000. Hardworking taxpayers and families struggling to get by shouldn’t have to bear an additional $11 billion in new government spending.”

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) is on record as opposing the legislation, saying, “This bill is nothing more than a political stunt that targets the hardworking, dedicated men and women of the civil service.”

Most consider the vote to be a largely symbolic one since it is unlikely to pass the Senate, and the president is on record as supporting the 0.5% pay increase.

President Obama has proposed a 1% pay increase for federal employees in 2014 as part of the White House budget proposal.

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About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. 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 FedSmith.com web site and its sibling sites.

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