Congress to Vote Next Week on Bill Extending Federal Pay Freeze Through 2013
Just days into the new 113th Congress, one freshman legislator is looking to make his name off the back of federal employees. This week, Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla), and 28 other house Republicans introduced a bill (H.R. 273) to freeze federal pay for a third consecutive year.
The measure, which also freezes Congressional pay, is a crafty measure in that it is designed to force federal-worker-friendly politicians into a tough choice: vote for a federal and congressional pay increase, or vote for neither. In effect, DeSantis and his Republican colleagues are holding votes for a federal pay increase hostage by attaching the poison pill.
Many believe the two should be taken separately, like Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) who is the House minority whip and longtime friend of federal employees. In an email to supporters and democratic House colleagues this week, Hoyer said:
“House Republicans want to spend the opening days of this new Congress engaged in the same short-sighted and counterproductive campaign against federal employees that we saw last Congress. Democrats are urged to vote no on H.R. 273.”
He’s right. The endless stream of federal worker attacks emanating from House and Senate Republican over the past several years is unprecedented. More than two-dozen bills targeting federal pay, benefits, and jobs have been introduced over this brief span. Even now, with $103 billion in federal workforce pay and retirement cuts already passed into law, Republicans like DeSantis continue to target the federal employee.
“Federal employees have gone far above the call of duty to reduce our nation’s deficit,” said NFFE National President William R. Dougan. “They are used to sacrificing for the greater good – they do it every day in the workplace. But this bill is not about sacrifice; it’s about politics. Tying a desperately-needed federal pay adjustment to a Congressional pay increase is reckless and irresponsible. The games need to stop now.”
NFFE’s sources on Capitol Hill suggest Congress may vote on this bill as soon as next Tuesday or Wednesday. Every NFFE member and all other federal employees need to act fast to put a stop to it. Call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard (on your own time, using your own phone) at (202) 224-3121 and tell your House Representative VOTE NO ON H.R. 273!