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  • Lawmakers Want to Extend Pay Freeze for Congress, Federal Workers

    Members of Congress will vote Wednesday to freeze their salaries through 2013 and impose the same pay limitation on non-military federal workers.

    The vote in the U.S. House comes just two days after the Congressional Budget Office confirmed that federal workers are paid 16 percent more in total compensation — a conclusion similar to research conducted by The Heritage Foundation and American Enterprise Institute.

    “Study after study has shown that when compared to the private sector, the federal government on average pays more than required to recruit and retain a skilled workforce,” said Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL), chairman of a House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on federal workforce. “H.R. 3835 asks Members and federal employees to share in the sacrifice necessary to help millions of Americans suffering under the Obama economy.”

    The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI), extends the current pay freeze through Dec. 31, 2013. It will be considered under suspension of House rules, meaning a two-thirds majority is required for passage.

    Even if the bill is signed into law, most federal employees will still receive a raise under federal personnel guidelines. Salaries increased an average of $1,303 during the current pay freeze.

    “Federal employees will continue to receive salary increases under routine adjustments driven by the passage of time that move employees into higher salary brackets, regardless of performance,” Ross said. “Last year, more than 99.9 percent of federal employees eligible received these within grade step increases.”

    This is one reason Heritage’s Jason Richwine and James Sherk have argued for a more fundamental overhaul of the federal pay and benefits system, which would have a more substantive impact than a one-year pay freeze.

    Among Heritage’s recommendations: Congress should implement a pay-for-performance system, expand the contracting of federal work to private companies, reduce the generosity of federal benefits, and end the near-absolute job security for underperforming federal workers.

    Democrats, many of whom criticized Heritage’s research on federal pay, vowed to oppose the pay freeze unless it was amended. They want the legislation restricted to only members of Congress, who earn $174,000 annually.

    “The merits of pay increases for federal employees should be debated separately from our consideration of pay for Members of Congress,” wrote a group led by Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD). “While we are not opposed to a freeze on Members’ pay for fiscal year 2013, we will not support a pay freeze for federal employees for a third consecutive year.”

    Despite recent pay limitations on federal employees, CBO’s report revealed they still outpace private-sector workers by a wide margin. In addition to receiving total compensation 16 percent higher, they earn 2 percent more in cash wages and a significant 48 percent more in benefits.

    Richwine and Sherk noted that while CBO’s work is not perfect, its conclusions are similar to research conducted by Heritage and AEI.

    “The federal pay system is broken,” Sherk said in testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee last March. “Economic research consistently shows that federal employees earn more than they would in the private sector.”

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities, Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    6 Responses to Lawmakers Want to Extend Pay Freeze for Congress, Federal Workers

    1. Bobbie says:

      dereliction within the roles of government, not within free peoples' control, doesn't deserve a dime of other peoples money. Thank you Heritage for standing true to America exposing the greed and control those within the unconstitutional American government has over those they thieve from and ill serve!

      Do people in the federal government get federal dollars to spread hatred between fellow Americans? Like that Maxine Waters? Poor behavior in government roles should be reprimanded by termination. America doesn't reflect nor deserves the reflection of the representation of these types that take other peoples' pay to abuse their positions by feeding their personal hatred across America…

      the accusers of racism are the abusers of racism, the accusers of hatred or the lovers of hatred! Beneath America and dishonor itself, to have those in government be the instigators to entice the public.

      • limey5 says:

        Maxine Waters was "elected" by the folks in her district. In our system of representative democracy, our Republic, the folks that put her in Office are the final word on whether or not she stays in office, irregardless of her "strange" ideology. Unless she commits a crime under her States laws or the Federal laws pertaining to elected officials, she gets to say what ever she wants. Frankly I hope no one ever prevents folks from saying what they want, cause it goes both ways. Freedom of speech. You have to listen to some loony stuff if you want to maintain the right to speak for your self.

    2. Stirling says:

      These "Fake" freezes are the things that make every honest taxpayer just hate taxday with a vengence.. The upside is most of them will be out of work once the currency colapses as a result of their ignorance and denial.

    3. limey5 says:

      If you think that step increases are a conundrum, you should also understand that a large chunk of monies is held back and put into a "kitty" that is divided up at the end of the year as a sort of "Christmas bonus". Its called performance awards, but it is mostly an across the board perk for everyone. It has several forms, and pay pools to determine the final payout. It is built into the budgets of all government workers. It is an expected perk.. it usually has the priority at most senior level briefs and meetings as time gets closer to figuring out how much and who gets what. Takes up serious man-hours and man-power. Keeps Human Resources people busy for months before December. If you just eliminated that, you would save hundreds of millions of dollars per annum. Step increases can be tied to performance. Most Gov. workers work very hard, and they feel that what they do is relevant and worthwhile to the country/state. They have the most stable careers of all, but, it is something we all want if we admit it. Ultimately, the real litmus test of a government job should be this: Is it considered "necessary for the function of government" in an emergency or not. If it is not, and during an emergency the folks just get sent home to wait until its safe/ok to return to work, chances are it is not all that important a position to maintain. Then, it could be an excellent candidate for privatization. Just food for thought.

    4. Lana Lorenzen says:

      As a federal employee since 1969 (U. S. Air Force) I can attest to the fact that I've never felt overpaid. Obviously, some of the critics have never worked for the federal government. Come do my job for just one year and then talk to me. If there is a wage discrepancy between private and federal the issue should be why private companies aren't paying a liveable wage. How many private companies are unionized? There's the pay difference. Yes, people do get "performance" awards: Those awards come from the work done by people like me, a ward clerk in a VA hospital. They don't go to GS-5s and 7s I can assure you. And yes, it should be easier to get rid of poor performers. However, my supervisor can't arbitrarily fire me, harrass me, or demote me for personal reasons as can happen in a non-unionized company. I have an idea for decreasing the deficit, and for lowering the tax monies that are going to my federal agency, the VA: Institute a system whereby all corporations that make such obscene profits from the wars we wage on behalf of our corporations ante up to the Department of Veteran Affairs.

    5. Amd says:

      As a scientist/engineer in DoD lab, I work 10~12 hrs a day, including many weekends. My salary is 30% lower than my fellow colleague in private industry. I doubt if Heritage Foundation ever know how to make a fair comparison. I feel that Heritage Foundation hates Federal Govenment. If the people in Heritage Foundation have a little bit science and technology background, they will understand how much waste there are due to outsourcing government work to private industry.

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