Not to be outdone by the House, a group of Senators has introduced legislation that would extend the pay freeze on federal employees. The bill would also cut the size of the federal workforce through attrition.
The bill that recently passed the House would enact a one year extension of the current pay freeze.
The proposed legislation, dubbed the “Down Payment to Protect National Security Act of 2012” would extend the pay freeze on federal employees through June 2014 and also would restrict hiring to only two employees for every three leaving until the size of the federal workforce is reduced by 5%. The freeze would also apply to members of Congress.
The impetus behind the legislation is to roll back defense cuts which are scheduled to take effect in 2013. Citing national security concerns, the group of Senators said in a statement, “Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has called the cuts to defense spending ‘devastating,’ likening them to ‘shooting ourselves in the head.’ Although the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction was unable to reach an agreement to reduce the deficit over the next ten years, the prudent path forward would be to replace all of the across-the-board cuts with an equal amount of responsible savings. As Congress considers funding for the next fiscal year, we should at least be able to agree to one-year in targeted spending reductions, instead of the draconian, across-the-board cuts resulting from sequestration.”
The Senators introducing the legislation are Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
The Senators cited the recent report from the Congressional Budget Office which indicated that federal employees receive, on average, 16% higher total compensation than comparable private sector workers as the basis for proposing the extended freeze.
“During a time of persistent unemployment, stagnant economic growth, and record deficits, it’s inexcusable that federal employees are being compensated so much more than the taxpayers in the private sector who subsidize those federal benefits,” the Senators concluded.