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Will feds accept yet another pay freeze?

Republicans are considering extending the pay freeze for government employees by an additional three years, but federal employee advocates are sounding like they've had just about enough. 

It certainly hasn’t been the greatest year for federal employees, but despite layoffs, pay freezes and the threat of sequestration, only a small percentage of government workers are reporting low employee satisfaction

That was before Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) introduced a bill that would add three more years to the two-year pay freeze already in place. The proposal would also reduce the federal workforce by 10 percent by 2015.

The Temporary Tax Holiday and Government Reduction Act would also eliminate millionaires’ and billionaires’ eligibility for unemployment compensation and food stamps and require them to pay higher Medicare premiums. The legislation also includes the Buffett Rule Act, which allows individuals who feel they are undertaxed to donate to the U.S. Treasury in an effort to pay down the national debt.

Heller, himself, called his bill “a practical solution” that would, he insists, preserve job growth and treat taxpayers’ dollars "responsibly." But Democratic leaders balked at the notion, arguing that the proposal would unfairly place more burden on an already strained workforce.

"The Republican payroll tax proposal represents another cynical ploy to single out federal employees for unfair treatment," Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said in a statement. "The financial collapse and weak economy were not caused by the men and women who serve the federal government, and they should not be forced to shoulder the entire burden of the cost of recovery."

Union leaders did not mince words, either. The National Federation of Federal Employees President William R. Dougan said the legislation was “absolutely unacceptable,” The Washington Post reported.  

“It is despicable that our elected representatives in Washington would propose taking thousands from the pockets of VA nurses, border patrol agents and food safety inspectors simply to protect a small group of millionaires and billionaires,” Dougan said.
 
Are feds willing to endure an extended pay freeze? How would an extra three years tacked onto the current pay freeze affect you? Are you considering a move to the private sector? Or are you sticking it through and staying, despite the threat of further layoffs and pay freezes?

Posted by Camille Tuutti on Dec 01, 2011 at 12:19 PM


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