The bill, sponsored by GOP freshman Ron DeSantis of Florida, would continue a two-year long pay freeze for federal government employees. The bill appears to have the support of House Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who says it will come to a vote next week:
Next week, the House will vote on Rep. DeSantis’ legislation to enact a federal pay freeze.
— Eric Cantor (@GOPLeader) January 16, 2013
As you might expect, the American Federation of Government Employees opposes the bill:
AFGE Statement on Federal Employee Pay Freeze Legislation: WASHINGTONAmerican Federation of Government Employe… bit.ly/X8AhAb
— AFGE (@AFGENational) January 16, 2013
On behalf of the 670,000 federal and D.C. government workers represented by the American Federation of Government Employees, I strongly urge lawmakers to oppose a bill introduced by Rep. Ron DeSantis that would extend the current two-and-a-half year pay freeze for federal employees through the end of 2013.
Federal salaries have not been adjusted since January 2010, and new employees will pay nearly four times more than their coworkers for retirement benefits. These measures will cost employees and save taxpayers more than $103 billion over the next decade.
Federal pay should not be politicized in this way. The salary freeze along with the threat of furloughs, layoffs and another complete government shutdown are a punishment in search of a crime. Federal employees had no part in the financial crisis and the ensuing recession, and they should not be forced into penury to reduce a deficit they had no part in creating.
The loyal, patriotic, working class and middle class Americans who make up the civilian federal workforce have done their part to address the budget deficit. Now is the time for the pay freeze to end.
President Obama has proposed a modest 0.5 percent pay raise that is scheduled to take effect in April, and Congress should not stand in the way of this raise taking effect. It would unfairly punish hard-working Americans who help ensure the safety, security and prosperity of our great country each and every day.
In 2010, USA Today reported that federal government workers make substantially more than private-sector workers in similar jobs:
Overall, federal workers earned an average salary of $67,691 in 2008 for occupations that exist both in government and the private sector, according toBureau of Labor Statistics data. The average pay for the same mix of jobs in the private sector was $60,046 in 2008, the most recent data available.
Not only that, but federal employees make out much better than their private sector counterparts when it comes to fringe benefits:
These salary figures do not include the value of health, pension and other benefits, which averaged $40,785 per federal employee in 2008 vs. $9,882 per private worker, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Given those disparities, extending the pay freeze is good policy and, for Republicans, good politics.