House of Representatives Votes to Freeze Their Own Pay Through 2013
In a surprising move last week, the House of Representatives voted to freeze their own pay through 2013.
The vote came after two years of non-stop efforts to freeze federal pay and cut benefits, culminating in a two-year pay freeze and a hefty increase in pension contributions for new hires. Just last week in fact, Congress proposed a federal pay freeze extension for two separate pieces of legislation, the first dealing with student loan interest rates and the latter authorizing budget appropriations.
Nonetheless, the self-imposed freeze will come as a welcome surprise to the millions of federal employees who are sick and tired of being singled out for sacrifice. There is, however, reason to question the sincerity of the proposed measure.
Members of Congress were paid a minimum of $174,000 last year despite being in session for only 35 out of 52 weeks, or 177 days. Quick math will tell you that for every day Congress was actually in session in 2011, the lowest-paid members made nearly $1,000. Meanwhile, the vast majority of federal employees last year earned between $25,000-$75,000 while working the same hours as every other American worker.
“Highly-paid members of Congress, many of whom are already independently wealthy, will barely feel the pinch of a one-year freeze,” said NFFE National President William R. Dougan. “Freezing the salaries of working class federal employees has an immense impact on their wellbeing and that of their families. It takes a much larger toll when you freeze pay for someone making $35,000 per year compared to someone making $175,000.”
The legislation will not become law unless the Senate agrees to include a similar provision, which it has not done as of this writing.