House votes to block federal pay raises
The House on Friday approved legislation to stop a 0.5 percent pay raise for federal workers from taking effect in April.
Under a presidential order, the pay increase will kick in after the government's last temporary spending plan expires, unless lawmakers agree to block the salary bump.
The vote on the House bill was 261 to 154, with only 10 Republicans voting against it and 43 Democrats supporting it. The measure faces questionable prospects in the Senate, where similar House-approved measures died last year.
The bill's sponsors argued that the pay increase would cost $11 billion over 10 years, and it comes at a time when automatic cuts are threatening the federal workforce. The sequester could force unpaid furloughs for federal employees.
The White House issued a statement on Wednesday opposing the House measure, saying a pay raise would help the government recruit and retain quality public workers.
Unions and professional associations representing federal employees also opposed the bill, pointing out that the government has not provided its usual annual raises for more than two years and that new hires have to pay more toward their retirement benefits.
“Federal workers — the same federal workers who care for our veterans and secure our borders and regulate our drug supply — have already contributed more than $100 billion toward reducing the deficit,” Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said in a floor statement. “No other group of Americans has contributed more to reducing the deficit.”
In contrast, committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said the president's executive order on federal pay was a “cynical ploy to curry political favor with one of the largest unionized workforces in America.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.