One Year Pay Freeze Extension Almost a Reality as House, Senate Abandon Federal Employees
This week, the Senate a proposed a stopgap funding measure known as a “continuing resolution” to fund the government through the remainder of the fiscal year. Following in the footsteps of the House version of the bill, the Senate measure also includes a one-year extension of the much-maligned federal pay freeze.
The action is surprising given past efforts by Senate leaders to strip incoming House legislation of anti-federal worker policies. This time, however was different, as no real resistance ever materialized from federal employee supporters in the upper chamber of Congress.
“The Senate took the easy way out with this continuing resolution, plain and simple,” said NFFE National President William R. Dougan. “Instead of standing up for our dedicated federal employees, the Senate just rolled over. This pay freeze extension is absolutely unacceptable.”
Worse yet, the Senate’s proposal keeps sequestration largely in place, meaning furloughs would officially be the law of the land were the measure to succeed. Though some provisions grant additional flexibilities to a handful of federal agencies for shifting their sequestration reductions, virtually nothing was done to provide relief for the hundreds of thousands of workers facing furloughs.
“Federal workers have already endured over two years of frozen pay, cuts to retirement benefits, thousands of layoffs and now hundreds of thousands of furloughs,” said Dougan. “A third consecutive year of frozen pay on top of all that they have already sacrificed is simply adding insult to injury. Where does it stop?”
The proposal has yet to be passed by the Senate, but it is widely considered must-pass legislation as the March 27th expiration of the current CR rapidly approaches. Once a bill is passed, it must enter a conference committee with House members to hash out the differences between the two bills. This means there is still time to speak out on the issue. Call your member of Congress (on your own time, using your own phone) and tell them say NO to a federal pay freeze extension in the continuing resolution. You can reach them using the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.