Leaving feds out of deficit deal wins bipartisan support

Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., was among 9 Washington-area lawmakers to sign a letter saying feds had already "paid their fair share." Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., was among 9 Washington-area lawmakers to sign a letter saying feds had already "paid their fair share." J. Scott Applewhite/AP

A bipartisan group of lawmakers -- all representing areas heavily populated by federal employees -- has a message for President Obama and colleagues in Congress: Leave the federal workforce alone.

The nine House members, all representing districts in Washington, Maryland or Virginia, said federal employees have “paid their fair share” toward reducing the deficit and any deal to avoid the fiscal cliff should not further target the group.

“We respectfully request that you carefully consider the implications that any proposed agreement would have on these Americans so that it reflects the substantial budget savings that the federal workforce has contributed thus far,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter.

They pointed to $103 billion in budget savings derived from the federal workforce -- $88 billion from a pay freeze that started in 2011 and is scheduled to continue through March and $15 billion from raising the retirement pension contribution rate for new hires -- as evidence the employees already have been disproportionally targeted in trimming budgets.

Reps. Jim Moran, D-Va.; Steny Hoyer, D-Md.; Frank R. Wolf, R-Va.; Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.; Gerald E. Connolly, D-Va.; Robert J. Wittman, R-Va.; Donna F. Edwards, D-Md.; John P. Sarbanes, D-Md.; and Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., all signed the letter.

Top Democratic lawmakers on committees related to the federal workforce told Government Executive last week that they also would like to leave federal employee benefits out of any potential debt deal. In addition, federal unions have expressed their desire to leave their members’ pay and benefits out of the deal.
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