Romney accused of planning big pay cut for feds

Mitt Romney is in London this week. Mitt Romney is in London this week. Charles Dharapak/AP

A plan from Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to align public and private sector compensation could mean as much as a 40 percent decrease in pay for federal employees, an Obama spokesman told USA Today.

"To pay for tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, [Romney] drastically cuts pay for the men and women who secure our borders and skies, enforce our laws, inspect our food and search for better treatments and cures," spokesman Adam Fetcher told the paper.

The Obama campaign based its conclusions on a Romney statement that “federal compensation exceeds private sector levels by as much as 30 to 40 percent when benefits are taken into account. This must be corrected.”

But the Romney campaign explained the former Massachusetts governor is not actually proposing a 30 percent to 40 percent pay cut because compensation involves more than just pay. Benefits such as health care and student loan repayments also would be on the table, the campaign said.

Bringing federal compensation in line with the private sector would save $47 billion, according to the plan.

The Obama team noted the president already has asked federal employees to do their part, through a two-year civilian pay freeze and through more efficient spending. Obama has proposed a 0.5 percent pay increase in 2013, though so far lawmakers do not appear to be following suit.

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