A one year extension of the pay freeze on federal employees has been buried in an amendment introduced by Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) to the Senate Highway Bill (Amendment #1826 to S.1813).
The extension would take the end date of the current pay freeze to December 2013 and would apply to members of Congress as well.
The purpose of the amendment is to extend several tax relief provisions to grow the economy as well as address rising energy costs.
According to Roberts, “My amendment includes many of the expired energy tax incentives as well as increases energy production incentives. With spiking gas prices hammering families and businesses, this is precisely the time to have policy that will increase energy supply. To begin addressing the oil supply issues, my amendment would cut red tape and open up more federal land for oil and gas exploration and drilling.”
So what purpose does a pay freeze serve in this amendment? Roberts said, “This amendment includes a special deficit reduction trust fund. The trust fund would contain the savings from the energy production incentives, the refundable child tax credit provision, and an extension of the existing federal employee pay freeze [emphasis added].” In other words, it helps fund the deficit reduction trust fund.
This is not the first addition to the Highway Bill that would affect the federal workforce. The Senate has already approved an amendment allowing phased retirement. If the phased retirements legislation were to become law, it would allow federal workers who are eligible for and nearing retirement to work part-time while receiving a reduced pension and continuing to accrue future retirement benefits.