House passes pay freeze on federal workers
February 15th, 2013
02:50 PM ET
5 years ago

House passes pay freeze on federal workers

(CNN) - Two weeks before automatic cuts are scheduled to hit government agencies the House of Representatives passed a bill freezing federal workers' pay for the third year in a row.

The vote was 261-154, with 10 Republicans breaking with their leadership and opposing the measure. Forty-three Democrats voted for the bill.

The bill overturns an executive order President Obama signed recently authorizing a pay raise for federal workers. It extends the current federal worker pay freeze for non-military workers, Members of Congress, members of the President's Cabinet, and the Vice President's office. In the last Congress the House passed a measure freezing salaries for House members through the fiscal year, which ends at the end of the September. This bill extends that through the end of the calendar year.

Maryland Democratic Rep Elijah Cummings, whose Baltimore district is home to tens of thousands of federal workers, criticized Republicans for targeting government employees, and said Congress instead should be working to avoid the automatic cuts.

"There are only five legislative days left before the across-the-board cuts required by sequestration will take effect. Rather than seeking solutions to the urgent challenges we face, Republicans are wasting two days simply renewing their attacks on middle-class federal employees," Cummings said.

Republicans who backed the bill said that in a time when Americans faced a tough economy government workers should not be getting pay raises.

"Good-paying full-time jobs should not be limited to those fortunate enough to work for the federal government," said California GOP Rep Darrell Issa. " At a time when hardworking American taxpayers are struggling to find work and keep their heads above water, the federal government offices work force a sufficient and generous pay and job security."

The House bill is not expected to go anywhere in the Democratic controlled Senate, according to a senior Senate Democratic aide.

As the mandatory budget cuts loom at the beginning of March, and both chambers leave for a scheduled one week recess, there are no bipartisan negotiations going on to head them off. House Speaker John Boehner repeated his stance that it's up to Senate Democrats to address the issue.

"Our position is very clear. We've outlined it. It's time for the Senate to do their work. We can - we can - if they're willing to pass a bill, we'll find some way to work with them to - to address this problem," Boehner told reporters Thursday.

Senate Democrats unveiled a proposal to replace the sequester on Thursday, but it includes tax increases, which Congressional Republicans flatly reject. House Republicans passed their own measure twice last year, but since this is a new Congress that bill is moot and they would need to pass something else in order to avert the cuts.

Filed under: Budget • House
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. BILL, WI

    Why shouldn't the civilians have a pay freeze, Panetta was going to cut raise for military members by almost 1% for 2014. That does not include the increase military members will also have to pay for housing, medical care and other services that comes out of the pockets of military members.

    February 15, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  2. Denounced

    Wow. That is what harkens forth as i read the nonsense from both sides. Did anyone even read anything in the article, or just skim it and come to quick judgement? Oh yeah, to the blogger whom asked what the goverment made that you buy. You are on the net, der. Btw, those federal workers happen to be cops, firemen, the postal service, social workers, teachers, and many more. Any intelligent human being would see this as an insult to those who defend, educate, and otherwise make our lives better overall. Then again, let us cut those silly workers salaries, right? Cops and teachers get paid too much anyway, at least according to some here. Forget the party idealogue of the LEFT and RIGHT. What happened to just doing the right thing, because that is the American way?

    February 15, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  3. Fair is Fair

    "Yes, they do. They make plenty of stuff that people buy; i.e. postage stamps."
    Yeah... postage stamps. Basically a symbol of a prepaid payment for a service. And they DO run the post office so well. Why just last year they lost many Billion dollars... AGAIN. Not to mention how many fewer postage stamps people are buying. Yup, a sure sign of selling a lousy, obsolete product is sales on a downward slide. What an absolute joke.

    February 15, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  4. Ancient Texan

    There is 135,000 too many government workers to start with and when the country is broke and borrowing money, they don't need a pay raise.

    February 15, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  5. Moose

    Rudy wrote
    as usual rudy writes stupidity

    February 15, 2013 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  6. DOD Civilian

    I'm a DOD civilian, who is helping to defend this nation and your right to complain about federal workers.

    Please do not confuse us with Congress.

    I am ready to take my 22 days of furlough on top of the 3 yr pay freeze, and do my part in helping the deficit.

    BUT...BUT... don't you DARE complain about the reduction in air travel, the long lines at TSA security, the inability to contact anyone in the welfare offices, the closure of parks... DON'T you DAMN complain!!!!!

    February 15, 2013 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  7. eagerliving


    "the congress needs to explain why they don't take the same freeze."

    Did you read the article??? Here's what you're looking for: It extends the current federal worker pay freeze for non-military workers, Members of Congress, members of the President's Cabinet, and the Vice President's office. In the last Congress the House passed a measure freezing salaries for House members through the fiscal year, which ends at the end of the September. This bill extends that through the end of the calendar year.

    No, government workers should not get a pay raise while we continue to run trillion-dollar deficits. ESPECIALLY congress, cabinet members, and VP staff. NO!!!

    February 15, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    Dividing the middle-class and working-poor by sowing and promoting resentment of public employees by private sector employees is a convenient way of getting the labor force to fight amongst itself while the robber barons make off with all the country's wealth. It's that freekin simple. "Private sector is suffering, so the solution is not to do something about the private sector suffering, but rather to make sure that public employees are suffering equally." It's all very convenient. With 22 furlough days and no raises to keep up with inflation, public employees won't be making as much of a contribution to demand and, therefore, to the economic recovery. It all come right down to "keep the economy bad while darky is POTUS."

    February 15, 2013 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    "Intersting how people here complaining about the GOP skipped over the part the 43 Democrats voted for this too..."

    I have no less of a desire to step on their throats too.

    February 15, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  10. Mkjp

    This OBVIOUSLY does not include congress. Just people like my fil who is trying to pay off his house. Awesome.

    February 15, 2013 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  11. mike 1200

    Well without the civilians DoD workers the ones in uniform could not do what they if you do not believe that ask them

    February 15, 2013 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Same old tired foolishness from the GOP. I remember when most people put down government jobs as low paying. When unemployment went up some folks were livid that government workers still have jobs. Most low level government workers are middle class and not getting rich. They are your neighbors and Church members. They are from the general population as we are and have the same bills and problems. Please don't demonize and envy people because they are trying to earn a honest living and support their families. Have a Blessed weekend everyone and let's not turn against each other. Some of these posts are so mean spirited that it saddens me to what we have become.

    February 15, 2013 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
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