House Votes to Extend Pay Freeze

The House voted Tuesday to block the scheduled 0.5% pay raise for federal employees for 2013 which would effectively extend the pay freeze for another year.

Don’t spend your 2013 pay raise just yet – the House voted Tuesday to block the scheduled 0.5% pay raise set to take place after March 27, 2013 that was formalized via executive order last week.

The bill that passed the Senate as part of the ongoing fiscal cliff negotiations blocks the pay raise for members of Congress, an idea which has gained bipartisan popularity in the last few days.

The House bill took the idea a step further and would freeze not only pay for Congress but also for federal employees by blocking the 0.5% pay increase set to take effect in the spring, effectively extending the pay freeze from the last two years through the end of 2013.

“It’s not how hard they [federal employees] work, it’s what can the American people afford,” said House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA). He also added, “Currently, federal workers receive typically over $100,000, and are about 16 percent higher compensated than their private-sector counterparts.”

Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said, “House Republicans continued their attack on hardworking federal employees by bringing to the Floor a bill that would extend the pay freeze on civilian federal employees for another year. I strongly oppose such a move – which, fortunately, has no chance of passing the Senate – because middle-class federal employees have already contributed nearly $90 billion toward deficit reduction through reduced pay and pension benefits at a time when other groups have not been asked to contribute.”

Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) added, “Federal employees have contributed now over $100 billion toward deficit reduction. They’ve had their pay frozen for two years, this will be a third year. New hires are going to have to contribute four times as much into their pension as they would have to today. So they’re really being made a scapegoat.”

Federal employee unions were also quick to decry the measure. “Reducing the salaries of federal workers through an extended pay freeze is a cheap political ploy,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said.

Negotiations are still ongoing, so details on this and other terms of any agreement are likely to change over the next few days, but we will continue to post any new developments as they become available.

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Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.