Senate approves fed employee pay freeze

Freeze included in spending bill

The Senate approved a continuing resolution today to fund the government through March 4 that includes a two-year pay freeze for all civilian federal employees. The House is expected to vote on the measure before the current resolution expires at midnight tonight.

The Senate voted 79-16 to approve the legislation (H.R. 3082).  Update: President Obama signed the bill into law on Dec. 22.

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The Senate resolution would provide funding at a rate of approximately $1.16 billion above the fiscal 2010 level, according to a summary prepared by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The Senate legislation would also freeze federal employee pay for two calendar years starting in 2011, as proposed by the White House.

The National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) and other labor groups have opposed the freeze, saying it unfairly targets federal workers, and expressed their disappointment in the Senate vote.

“Clearly, these are tough economic times and federal employees stand ready to do their part, but canceling a modest 1.4 percent pay raise this year and a projected 1.1 percent pay raise next year because of deficit concerns rings particularly hollow in light of the recent tax compromise between the administration and congressional Republicans that will give hundreds of billions of dollars to America’s wealthiest families,” NTEU President Colleen Kelley said in a statement.

About the Author

Alyah Khan is a staff writer covering IT policy.

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Reader comments

Mon, Jan 24, 2011

SES salaries have been frozen for 3 years. This is nothing but a bow to political pressures. The impact of this freeze on a Trillion dollar deficit is negligible. The longer term impact will make it hard for the Fed to attract good people and may result in an increase in retirements leaving the Fed short handed.

Sat, Jan 1, 2011 Deborah

Costs of living continue to go up so I don't understand how the government can say that those working for the Fed Gov or on SSI don't need a pay increase. Would someone please explain who makes these decisions? I am a Federal Employee and my husband is disabled. My costs for insurance and medical bills continue to go up...

Tue, Dec 28, 2010

I certainly hope the Senate also gets a pay freeze because they are civilian federal employees.

Thu, Dec 23, 2010 Noah Nason DC

Most of the comments so far are angry ones. The fact of the matter is that Federal Government workers have, for the most part, done quite well during this economic downturn. Many Government workers are underpaid when compared to their commercial peers in terms of their Government level of responsibility. However, many of these same employees are overpaid when compared to their commercial peers when you compare education and experience. For example: the contracting officers and COTRs for many large contracts are typically 10 years junior to their commercial counterparts and often lack the advanced degrees and comprehensive training that the commercial world requires for advancement. This puts the Government at a decided disadvantage when evaluating contracts and conducting negotiations. DoD recently announced an exchange of employees with their commercial counterparts. This exchange program and lots more training dollars are needed to make many of our federal employees actually worth the tough/demanding positions we put them in. If employees were trained and educated to their level of responsibility then they would be worth more, they should be paid more, and as a bonus we would need fewer of them (less rework and more efficient delivery.) So I would propose the following. No pay freeze or furlough. Funding for each employee to attend 1 week of appropriate training each year. Reduction of the 8 hour leave per pay period to 7 hours per pay period. And reduction of the 6 hour leave per pay period to 5 hours and starting at 5 employment years not 3. Our civilian Federal leave program is overly generous when compared to our civilian counterparts. The Government would gain, from most employees, 26 hours of effort (01.25%) per year. So, we could reduce the Federal Government workforce by 1.25 people for every hundred people. This would amount to a very great deal of money saved without a reduction in work effort, could be accomplished thru attrition, and might forestall pay freezes and furloughs.

Thu, Dec 23, 2010 RayW

For the Federal peons (WS/GS) - frozen pay, insurance cost and co-pays are going up. Congress has subsidized benefits like food, great medical (not Blue Cross Blue Shield I bet!), Hillary was touted as having the largest staff in history when she took her seat which makes me wonder how many other worthless toadies we are paying for on "the hill", spending bills that hide rider money funneled to favored folks under the guise of being general funds for the good of the nation. Oh, and I hear there are "exceptions" to the pay freeze, just like some groups have much better insurance rates and benefits.

For the person talking about locality pay, some folks have no choice but to live in a high cost area, that is where the work is. Gov pay is based (so they say) on main stream America, not the big cities.

As far as being overpaid compared to my neighbors, many of them have boats, four wheelers, snow mobiles, etc. I can not afford that on my gov salary, but then again, I am not worried about a layoff either, so some people would call me overpaid just for that.

NSPS was great for some of us, it put us closer to what folks in Real Life jobs were making at the time, but when you consider that starting GS wages are MUCH less than what Real Life jobs were starting at, and the fact that NSPS limited how many people could get the larger increases, that leaves a lot of folks pretty far down on the pay band. (I came to the gov from a Real Life job, so I was MUCH higher on the GS scale than folks who started in the gov and worked their way up, like 12 step 10 vice 12 step 5 to 7 for most 15-20 year workers). But then, what price do you put on stability (after stressing on layoffs, I chose stability over a bigger pay check)?

I find it amusing that folks are still blaming Bush Jr for all this. I lost two jobs under Clinton and a lot of folks were laid off also, Bush was stable (after he killed the economy after the first election results were in and before taking over the office from Clinton?), and now Obama has a lot of job losses partly due to things he voted for in the Senate and his actions as president.

Like all things, this is my viewpoint from where I sit, your area may be different, and if you are an outsider, it is very different.

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