GOP pay-freeze bill is 'clever,' Democrat Steny Hoyer says

Evan Vucci/AP

The House Democrat responsible for keeping tabs on how his colleagues plan to vote is declining to predict if enough Democrats will join Republicans on Wednesday in trying to pass a GOP bill to extend the existing pay freeze for federal workers through 2013.

But House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland, whose Washington area district includes thousands of federal workers, described the GOP measure on Tuesday as a cleverly contrived election-year effort to trap opponents in an embarrassing vote.
Under the bill’s language, a pay freeze that has been in place for federal workers since 2010 would continue beyond this December to the end of 2013, and it would also prevent members of Congress from getting a pay increase.
And that’s a quandary, said Hoyer during a briefing with reporters, for those who might otherwise not want to extend the freeze on nonmilitary federal workers.
“I don’t know -- it includes a freeze of our own salary,” said Hoyer, when asked how he sees the vote playing out on the bill sponsored by Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis. 
“Very clever,” Hoyer said. “So it will be perceived as, if you’re voting against the bill, you're voting to raise your own salary.”
To add to gamesmanship, the bill’s passage in the House may depend on what Democrats decide to do. The Republican majority has placed the legislation on Wednesday’s suspension calendar,” meaning that two-thirds of those members present for the vote must agree for it to pass.
And although Republicans hold 242 of the 433 currently occupied seats in the House, they do not control two-thirds of them -- meaning that some Democratic support will be needed -- that is, if all the members show up to vote.
But to hear Hoyer describe it, whether the bill passes or not, congressional Republicans and the National Republican Congressional Committee may already be revving up attack ads against Democrats who vote against the measure. “A very good 30-second ad. Isn’t that clever?” Hoyer asked again.
Duffy and Republicans say that the bill makes sense. He has said that with private-sector workers facing a squeeze and millions of families looking for work, asking that tax dollars go to a pay raise for government employees “is just not right.”
But Hoyer argues that the bill ignores mechanisms that he says are already in place, such as the federal pay council, that – in his view -- works to compare what is happening in the private sector “so that federal employees are not getting more, nor are they being disadvantaged.”
Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.