Congress Targets Your Wallet Once Again with New Bills Freezing Step Increases; Reducing WorkforceMonday, February 6, 2012
(National Federation of Federal Employees)
Two new bills targeting your pay and jobs were introduced last week, adding more measures to the litany of anti-federal worker bills already under consideration in this Congress. As you recall, lawmakers voted to extend the federal pay freeze through 2013 on Wednesday, February 1st, sending the bill over to the Senate for their approval. The new measures, however, take an even more draconian approach to slashing federal compensation.
On Tuesday, Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) introduced a bill to freeze federal workers’ in-grade step increases through 2012. If passed into law, the measure would reduce eligible workers’ pay by hundreds or even thousands of dollars this year.
“Federal workers have already sacrificed enough,” said NFFE National President William R. Dougan. “The current two-year pay freeze will save $60 billion over the next decade, in addition to billions more in agency budget cuts. Federal workers are doing more with less in the workplace and at home. If we are serious about reducing the deficit we need a shared sacrifice, not another pot-shot at federal employees.”
Just two days later, on Thursday February 2nd, a handful of senior Republican Senators led by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) introduced a separate bill targeting federal jobs and pay. Co-sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John Cornyn (R-TX), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), and Marco Rubio (R-FL), the measure seeks to extend the federal pay freeze through 2014 and slash 100,000 federal jobs over the next decade through attrition. At a press conference announcing the legislation, McCain argued it was necessary for federal workers to take an additional two years of frozen pay and job cuts in order to prevent sequestration cuts at the Department of Defense next year. The automatic cuts he references were the result of the Congressional Super Committee’s failure to reach a deficit reduction deal during the debt-ceiling negotiations late last year.
“This is just another example of Congress trying to paper over its own failures by reaching into the pocket of federal employees,” said Dougan. “Federal employees did not cause our deficit problem; they didn’t prevent Congress from reaching a deal to lower the deficit last year; yet federal workers are being put forward as a sacrificial lamb once again. This has to stop now.”