House Passes Funding Measure Extending Federal Pay Freeze through 2013, Preserving Sequester
Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed a funding measure including a provision to extend the much-maligned federal pay freeze and allowing automatic sequestration cuts to take effect.
The bill, H.R. 933, is what Washington refers to as a “continuing resolution,” (CR) which is a stop-gap funding measure used when Congress and the President cannot agree on a formal budget. The government has been operating exclusively on a string CR’s over the past several years.
The timing of this funding process is critical. If Congress cannot reach a compromise bill before March 27th, the federal government will shut down. Under a government shutdown, nearly all federal employees will be furloughed until a deal is reached to restore funding. This would be devastating to federal employees who are already staring at upwards of 22 furlough days as a result of recently-implemented sequestration cuts.
“This CR is absolutely terrible,” said NFFE Legislative Director Randy Erwin. “We need a spending bill that will end this asinine sequestration idea and give federal workers the resources they need to do their jobs serving the American people. Anything less is unacceptable.”
As if the threat of a shutdown weren’t bad enough, the bill also extends the two-year federal pay freeze for a third year. This is not the first time Congressional Republicans have targeted federal employees, however. Early in the new 113th Congress, the House passed H.R. 273, which also seeks to freeze federal pay through 2013. With Congress convening to address sequestration and the continuing resolution, it is likely some will continue pushing the freeze as part of a final agreement.
“It is more important than ever for federal workers to hold their Congressional reps accountable,” said Erwin. “If they want to pass legislation harming federal workers in their districts, they deserve to hear how that legislation is negatively impacting the lives of their constituents. We can’t afford to give them any free passes.”