A view of Capitol Hill from Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, Wednesday, March 6, 2013.

A view of Capitol Hill from Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, Wednesday, March 6, 2013. Susan Walsh/AP

House Extends Pay Freeze, Upholds Sequester

Bill to keep government open past March 27 now heads to Senate.

The House on Wednesday voted to extend the pay freeze for federal employees as part of the package to keep the government open through the end of September.

A provision in the $982 billion continuing resolution, which abides by sequestration, prolongs the current freeze on federal civilian employees for a third year. It also applies to lawmakers. The vote originally was scheduled for Thursday, but the House leadership moved it to Wednesday because of inclement weather in the Washington area that closed federal offices in the region.

President Obama issued an executive order in late 2012 that would end the two-year salary freeze on March 27 -- when the current CR expires -- and give civilian federal workers a 0.5 percent raise in 2013. If the pay freeze provision remains in the continuing resolution that reaches Obama’s desk, as is expected, it will overturn that executive order.

Republicans in Congress repeatedly have targeted the federal workforce’s pay. In February, the House approved a bill sponsored by Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., that extends the federal pay freeze. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that a 2013 pay increase for federal employees would cost the government $11 billion over the next 10 years.

The current pay freeze affects the annual, across-the-board cost of living increase that feds receive. Many federal workers, however, have continued to receive pay boosts through within-grade step increases, promotions and bonuses during the last two years.

“Once again, we treat the federal employee like a punching bag,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., on the House floor Wednesday. “For the third year in a row, we freeze their salary. They’ve already contributed, and they were the only group singled out to contribute to the federal debt reduction to the tune of $100 billion in lost wages and benefit cutbacks.”

Federal employee groups were unhappy with the bill because it maintains the sequester and prolongs the pay freeze. “We continue to believe strongly that the best course for the nation is an end to sequestration and the adoption of measures that provide federal agencies with the funding they need to serve the public,” said National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelley.

“While private-sector wages rose by an average of 1.4 percent in 2011 and 1.7 percent in 2012, pay for federal workers has remained frozen since 2010,” said Joseph A. Beaudoin, president of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association. “Getting our fiscal house in order will require tough decisions, but there are other ways to reduce the deficit that do not punish middle-class federal families. Enough is enough!”

The continuing resolution (H.R. 933) maintains sequestration-level funding for the government through Sept. 30, with flexibility for the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments as well as some additional agencies and programs. It includes a 1.7 percent pay raise for military service members, which is exempt from sequestration.

“The legislation will avoid a government shutdown on March 27, prioritizes DoD and veterans’ programs and allows the Pentagon some leeway to do its best with the funding it has,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Ky. The CR provides $518.1 billion in non-war funding for the Pentagon and a total of $133.9 billion in both mandatory and discretionary funding for the VA. The bill also provides $32.7 billion for Defense health and military family programs, including medical research on combat-related injuries and illnesses.

The Senate is expected to tweak the legislation, but it’s likely to pass both chambers and head to Obama with little drama. The ongoing, bitter battle over the automatic spending cuts, which began on March 1, has spurred lawmakers to act swiftly to avoid a government shutdown on top of the sequester.

For the fourth time, the House rejected an amendment offered by Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., which would have replaced the sequester this year with a mix of spending cuts and revenue increases to reduce the deficit.

The government is on the hook to cut $85 billion under sequestration during fiscal 2013. The Office of Management and Budget had calculated that over the course of the fiscal year, sequestration requires a 7.8 percent reduction in defense discretionary funding and a 5 percent cut in non-defense discretionary spending. But acting OMB Director Jeffrey Zients has said that because the cuts are spread over seven months instead of 12, the effective reductions are 13 percent for defense and 9 percent for domestic agencies.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.