Lawmakers ask colleagues to hold off on 2012 pay freeze

Washington-area lawmakers are asking colleagues to leave any federal pay adjustments beyond 2011 to the next Congress.

In a letter to Appropriations Committee Chairman Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., House lawmakers said federal compensation should be reviewed on an annual basis, rather than the two-year increment President Obama proposed last week when he recommended freezing civilian pay for 2011 and 2012. Workers still would be eligible for promotions and step increases.

According to the letter, Office of Management and Budget officials already have submitted legislative language to enact the freeze. But the House members said the 2012 adjustment should be "reserved for the 112th Congress, where federal pay can be considered in the context of a more comprehensive approach to deficit reduction."

In addition to House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., Reps. James Moran, D-Va.; Gerry Connolly, D-Va.; Frank Wolf, R-Va.; Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.; John Sarbanes, D-Md.; Donna Edwards, D-Md.; and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., signed the letter.

"We support the president's effort to reduce the deficit and ensure we put our nation back on a path to long term financial sustainability," the letter stated. "And we know federal employees are willing to do their part to help our nation in this effort. But we do not believe civil servants should be unfairly targeted outside the context of a comprehensive approach to the federal budget simply because they carry out the work of the federal government."

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