Groups rip GOP plan to extend pay freeze, cut workforce

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis. J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Federal employee groups are calling on lawmakers to oppose a budget proposal that would extend the federal pay freeze and reduce the government workforce.

The House on Wednesday began debate on the fiscal 2013 budget and is expected to pass legislation Thursday that includes $368 billion in cuts to the federal workforce during the next decade. The Budget Committee last week approved a measure offered by Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan that would extend the federal pay freeze through 2015, reduce the size of the government workforce by 10 percent and increase employee contributions to their retirement plans. In addition to the Republican proposal, lawmakers on Wednesday and Thursday will be debating six other budget measures, including one from Democrats and President Obama’s fiscal 2013 plan.

“It is simply unacceptable for the House Republican budget resolution to, yet again, unfairly single out the federal workforce for a vastly disproportionate share of budget reductions,” said a March 27 letter from the Federal-Postal Coalition, which includes various groups representing the interests of federal employees and managers.

The House GOP’s $3.5 trillion budget plan is similar to their 2012 proposal, which also called for an increase in the amount federal employees contribute changes to their pensions, a smaller government workforce and an extension of the two-year pay freeze on civilian employees. In addition, the current Republican measure would relieve the Defense Department from significant budget cuts resulting from sequestration, which takes effect starting in 2013. The House Democratic budget plan would cancel the governmentwide automatic spending cuts and replace them with targeted spending reductions and tax increases.

The Democratic budget proposal does not include any provisions that would affect the pay or benefits of federal employees.

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