House to Vote on One-Year Pay Freeze Extension This Week Using Questionable Legislative Maneuver
This Wednesday, the House of Representatives is expected to vote on H.R. 3835, a bill that would extend the two-year federal pay free by an additional year. Introduced by Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) late Friday afternoon, the bill would also freeze the salaries of lawmakers and their staffs.
Duffy’s bill may be considered on such an expedited schedule due to a legislative maneuver known as a “suspension of the rules” whereby proposed legislation can bypass the normal legislative process and bring a bill straight to a vote. Normally the bill would first be sent to committees, giving average Americans and their representatives in Congress an opportunity to share their opinions on the matter before a vote is held. Under a suspension of the rules, however, this whole process is pushed aside.
“It never ceases to surprise me to what lengths certain members of Congress will go to score political points on the backs of federal workers,” said NFFE National President William R Dougan. “It is immensely irresponsible to consider something as important as a federal pay freeze, which impacts millions of families throughout the country, outside of the normal legislative process.”
The impact an extended pay freeze would have on federal workers all throughout the nation would be immense. Assuming a two percent cost-of-living adjustment, the current pay freeze causes nearly a $20,704 pay cut over the next decade for a federal worker earning an annual salary of $50,000, and a $ 47,137 pay cut over 20 years. These kinds of losses are staggering for middle-class workers. Heaping another year’s freeze on millions of middleclass federal workers would only deepen the financial strain.
Though facts like these are often discussed during the typical legislative process, the motion to suspend the rules on H.R. 3835 will leave this important bill to the whims of uninformed lawmakers.
“Issues like these are supposed to be studied in committees so that members of Congress can learn from their constituents how potential legislation will impact them,” said Dougan. “By trying to suspend the normal rules, Republicans in the House are attempting to disenfranchise the American people on this issue. It is wrong and we will not stand for it. Federal employees and indeed all Americans deserve better from their elected representatives.”