Federal pay freeze defeated in Senate vote

Amendment would have frozen salaries for all federal workers and capped hiring across government

For the third time in recent weeks, lawmakers have rejected the idea of freezing the pay of federal civilian workers.

Despite the overheated rhetoric on deficit-cutting that has dominated Capitol Hill, the Senate has voted 57-41 to defeat an amendment to the Tax Extenders/Jobs bill (H.R. 4213) that would have frozen pay for all nonmilitary federal employees and capped hiring across the federal government.

Previously, both the House and Senate have rejected other efforts to freeze the pay of federal civilian workers.


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Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.) blasted the amendment. “The scapegoating and baseless attacks against federal workers only serve to demoralize those who every day are on the front lines of confronting our national challenges,” Kaufman said June 17. “It also discourages talented young Americans from making that difficult choice whether to start a career in service to their country.”

Kaufman also said federal civil servants sacrifice compensation when they choose to enter the government workplace. The Federal Salary Council reported last year that federal employees made an average of 26 percent less than those working in comparable private-sector jobs.

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the amendment's author, said he was disappointed that the measure was not embraced by the Senate. “The defeat of my amendment was a missed opportunity for Congress to prove they are serious about tackling our dangerous spending habits and $13 trillion national debt,” Thune said.

 

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