An amendment that would have extended the pay freeze by one year was rejected today in the Senate by a vote of 41-57.
The amendment had been put forth by Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) and was part of the highway funding bill. The pay freeze would have been extended through the end of December 2013 under the terms of the amendment.
Roberts had put forth the amendment to extend several tax relief provisions to grow the economy as well as address rising energy costs.
AFGE and NTEU had voiced opposition to the amendment prior to the vote in the Senate, saying that federal employees had already sacrificed with a two year pay freeze.
NTEU president Colleen Kelley applauded the rejection of the amendment saying, “Rejecting this amendment is clear evidence that many members of the Senate understand the need for shared sacrifice among every group in our society, rather than turning to federal employees for even greater contributions, especially to fund matters unrelated to the federal workforce.”
NARFE president Joseph A. Beaudoin expressed cautious optimism regarding rejection of the pay freeze amendment, saying, “Although we are relieved that this latest affront to America’s federal workers failed, we’re still on guard for the next attempt to weaken our federal workforce and the vital services and protections it provides.”
A pay freeze extension similar to the one proposed by Roberts was passed in the House last month, while the White House proposed a 0.5% pay raise in 2013 for federal workers. At this point, it is anybody’s guess what 2013 holds for the federal workforce in terms of a pay freeze or increase given the opposing proposals floating around between the President, Senate, and House.