Bill would prohibit step increases for feds through 2012

Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala., sponsored the legislation. Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala., sponsored the legislation. Flickr user kabulpublicdiplomacy

A House lawmaker has introduced a bill that would prohibit step increases for federal employees who currently are subject to a pay freeze.

The provision, tucked into larger legislation aimed at improving transparency within the appropriations process, would prevent federal workers from receiving within-grade step increases through the end of 2012. If enacted, it would mean extra pain for federal employees during the second year of the federal pay freeze; the current salary freeze does not affect pay boosts as a result of within-grade step increases or promotions.

The pay bump associated with a step increase varies according to the employee’s specific pay system. For example, there are 10 steps within each grade of the General Schedule, which covers much of the federal workforce, and the pay increase between most steps within those grades is roughly $2,000. In 2012, the base pay for a GS-12, Step 1 is $60,274; for a GS-12, Step 2 it is $62,283.

The 2012 Honest Budget Act (H.R. 3844), sponsored by Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala., would make it more difficult to pass appropriations bills without first approving a budget; it also would tighten rules about using emergency and disaster designations that increase spending.

“This legislation is designed to root out the budget gimmicks most commonly used by politicians to hide the truth, confuse the public and run up the national debt,” Roby said during Feb. 2 remarks on the House floor. The legislation also would not count rescissions, or the withholding of already appropriated funds, for certain programs that do not save money in the fiscal years covered under the budget.

Roby’s bill has 28 co-sponsors.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., introduced a similar bill (S. 1651), also containing a provision prohibiting step increases for feds through 2012, last October. It’s currently in committee.

Most of the latest federal pay news has focused on continuing efforts to extend the federal pay freeze, overshadowing the measure affecting federal compensation in Roby’s bill.

The House on Feb. 1 passed a bill sponsored by Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., that would extend the pay freeze another year. Meanwhile on the Senate side, a group of high-profile GOP lawmakers unveiled legislation Thursday that would freeze federal salaries through 2014 and reduce the size of the government by 5 percent through attrition.

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