Federal union leader assails yet another pay freeze extension bill
A Republican legislator has suggested extending the pay freeze for government workers, drawing the ire from a federal union leader who assailed the idea and called it “a political ploy.”
Rep. Sean Duffy’s (R-Wisc.) proposal H.R. 3835, which also applies to members of Congress, would extend the federal pay freeze through Dec. 31, 2013. The House is expected to vote on the bill Feb. 1, Federal Eye’s Ed O’Keefe reported.
Duffy is just one of several Republican lawmakers who recently made attempts to extend the federal pay freeze. In December, Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) introduced a bill that would add three more years to the existing two-year pay freeze and cut the federal workforce 10 percent by 2015. Another, similar effort came from Sen. Jon Kyl, (R-Ariz.) whose proposal would extend the pay freeze for another couple of years as well as trim the federal workforce through attrition.
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Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, called on the House representatives to strike down Duffy’s bill, which she described as a “political ploy.”
“Clearly, this bill, which also includes a provision to extend the pay freeze on members of Congress, is a political ploy setting up a Hobson’s choice that would require representatives to vote against extending the freeze for themselves in order to lift the freeze on federal employees,” she wrote in the letter.
Kelley noted that the House has already voted to prolong the pay freeze for federal employees through 2013 as a measure to offset the payroll tax holiday extension.
“While many in Congress are bending over backwards to protect billionaires and millionaires, they continue to attack hard-working, dedicated frontline employees who guard our borders, protect our air and water, safeguard our food and drug supplies, keep watch over our retirement, assist our veterans, and so much more,” she said.
Kelley also disagreed with the process that allows the bill to come up on the suspension calendar. With this method, the House evades public hearings on the topic and prohibit any amendments to the act, she said.
Earlier this year, the White House proposed a modest salary increase for federal employees after the current pay freeze ends. The 0.5 percent salary bump, which could also mean more money for congressional lawmakers, has received criticism from federal employees, some of whom called the proposal an insult.
Camille Tuutti is a former FCW staff writer who covered federal oversight and the workforce.