White House threatens to strike down bill to extend pay freeze

Editor's note: This story was modified after its publication to clarify information regarding the scope of the pay freeze extension.

An appropriations bill to fund military construction and veterans' programs calls for extending the current federal pay freeze for another year, but the White House is having none of that.

In a May 30 statement commenting on administration policy, the Office of Management and Budget objected to the spending bill for military construction and the Veterans Affairs Department, saying it required “harmful cuts” to areas such as education, job training and healthcare.

However, Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas), who sponsored the act, said in a written statement that the bill slashes federal spending “without compromising the high-quality services provided to our troops, their families, and our veterans.”

H.R. 5854 would also effectively extend the federal pay freeze through fiscal year 2013 for civilian Defense and Veterans Affairs department employees, according to OMB's statement.

“If the president were presented with H.R. 5854, his senior advisers would recommend that he veto the bill,” OMB said in its statement.

The bill also contains a policy rider that would ban the use of project labor agreements on federal construction projects. OMB opposed that provision, saying PLAs can aid agencies realize projects more efficiency and help ensure compliance with laws on workplace safety and health, equal employment opportunity, and labor and employment standards. 

About the Author

Camille Tuutti is a former FCW staff writer who covered federal oversight and the workforce.

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