Feds could see pay freeze

Administration officials hope for $2 billion in savings for fiscal 2011 and more in the coming years.

President Barack Obama has proposed a freeze in civilian employees’ pay for fiscal 2011 and 2012, administration officials said today.

The administration expects the freeze to save $2 billion for the remainder of fiscal 2011, said Jeffrey Zients, federal chief performance officer and deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget. Looking further ahead, he said government may save as much as $3 billion in 2012. Based on current savings trends, Obama’s proposal might save as much as $28 billion during the next five years, and more than $60 billion during the next decade, Zients said.


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The freeze would apply to all civilian federal employees, including those in various alternative pay plans and those working at the Defense Department. However, military personnel won’t be affected by the freeze, Zients said. He added that the freeze would not apply to promotions.

"This is clearly a difficult decision," he said. "The president is asking them to make a sacrifice."

The president was expected to make an announcement about the pay freeze later this morning.

"The freeze will not get in the way of bringing in talented people," Zients said, seeking to reassure those who worry about the overall capabilities of the federal workforce and already-troublesome difficulties in recruting new hires.

Zients said officials made the announcement today based on a legal deadline to submit information on pay to Congress. It is not directly tied to possible proposals from the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (better known as the Debt Commission) on ways to save money the government money, he said.

Overall, the freeze is a part of the Obama’s Accountable Government Initiative to cut costs, save money and do more with less in the federal government. The president has already frozen pay increases for senior White House officials. He suggested approximately $20 billion in terminations and reductions of federal programs, encompassing more than 120 programs. The administration has been making efforts to reduce the amount of money the government sends out improperly.

About the Author

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

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Reader comments

Thu, Dec 23, 2010 Robbase Fort Hood Texas

As usual, the Feds has no gutts!!!!! The government employees are not the blame; it's the contractors overseas. The Whitehouse knows this and who do they challenge? Of course the same people who are taxed in combat zones. I will start looking at the contractor side; they are not touch with this so call cost savings. The Government is always taking short cuts with their employee’s; yes government pays more the many of the civilian jobs, why? Because the civilian sectors are greedy, they don’t pay their employers what they are with. Example takes a certified nurse assist, civilians pay them $8.00 an hour, and the government pays them $26K a year. Once again greed on both sides…….

Thu, Dec 23, 2010 George NC

Absolutely right. We send Billions to Europe, Middle East, UN, and various other organizations. I don't want to be a part of some global government. This isn't Star Trek. We are not going to come under one government and sing kumbyya together. Let WE THE PEOPLE be free again. Free to fail. Free to succeed. Free to live. Those of us who have served in Armed Forces and now serve as Government Employees make less than our civilian counterparts, about 25% less on average. Maybe instead of freezing my pay you should stop giving money to countries that hate us, to those looking for a handout, and stop all of these entitlement programs that keep people fat dumb and lazy.

Thu, Dec 16, 2010

FREEZE money that we give to foreign countries, which is much more than is going to be saved by freezing pay of US federal employees! I am tired of bailing them out at the cost of the US tax payer.

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