Federal Workforce

Bill to kill federal raise passes House

Ron DeSantis

Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) introduced a bill to stop the 2013 pay raise for federal employees.

The House passed a bill Feb. 15 that would stop the 2013 statutory pay adjustment for federal employees. The measure passed 261-154, with 43 Democrats voting yes.

H.R. 273, which was introduced by Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) and has 48 cosponsors, would overturn the executive order President Barack Obama signed Dec. 27, 2012, that gives employees an across-the-board raise. It would not prevent employees from receiving bonuses, merit-based or even tenure-based pay increases or promotions.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said stopping the order could save $11 billion over 10 years. His committee approved the bill.

"Federal employees are on average compensated 16 percent more than their private-sector counterparts. In fact, during the so-called 'pay freeze' federal employee pay has gone up by $3,328 while private sector pay has gone up only $1,404," Issa said in a statement.

He added: "If President Obama does not get serious about finding spending cuts to avoid his sequestration, many federal employees will be furloughed, resulting in an actual reduction in compensation and harm to productivity."

It is the second time the House has passed such a bill in little more than a month.

The White House, House Democrats and labor unions have opposed the bill, and its passage further upset them.

"To continue to single out our federal workforce is both unfair and unwise," Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said in a statement released after the vote. Hoyer noted that under the two-year pay freeze, the federal employees have effectively made a $60 billion contribution to deficit reduction.

Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, stressed federal employees are in the third year of a pay freeze. "The contributions of the dedicated and effective men and women of the federal workforce make this a better country and improve the quality of life for all Americans," she said.

The bill would still have to clear the Senate, and White House officials have said the administration opposes the legislation.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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