Roberts Amendment to Extend Federal Pay Freeze Fails in Senate Vote
Tuesday, the Senate blocked an amendment to extend the federal pay freeze through 2013, prompting many in the federal workforce community to breathe a sigh of relief. The amendment, introduced by Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), was defeated soundly by a vote of 41 for and 57 against, leaving the measure far short of the 60 votes necessary to survive.
As NFFE reported earlier this week, Roberts attempted to attach the pay freeze amendment to the massive Surface Transportation Bill (S. 1813), which is a must-pass infrastructure bill renewed periodically by Congress. If the Senator was successful in having the amendment attached, it would have been far more difficult to defeat. But luckily for federal workers, it did not have to come to that. However, this was not the only anti-federal worker provision at play in the ongoing Surface Transportation Bill negotiations.
In the House version of the legislation (H.R. 7), one provision called for increasing the amount current federal workers pay for their retirement benefits in addition to eliminating the FERS annuity supplement. However, due to immense pressure from federal unions following the decision to increase retirement contributions for new federal workers to extend the payroll tax cut, those provisions were removed from the bill.
Though the two greatest threats to federal pay and benefits have been beaten back, there is still a chance that more can be introduced as the bill’s negotiations progress. As they do, know that your union is there looking out for you and your family.