House to vote to continue federal pay freeze
WASHINGTON (AP) - The House next week will take up legislation to overturn an order from President Barack Obama giving federal workers a 0.5 percent pay raise, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said Wednesday.
The legislation, sponsored by GOP freshman Ron DeSantis of Florida, would continue a pay freeze for the federal government's 2 million employees that has been in effect for more than two years.
Republicans said that stopping the pay increase from going into effect when the current stopgap measure to fund the government ends on March 27 would save taxpayers $11 billion over 10 years.
"As President Obama continues to say one thing and do another on deficit spending, it is appropriate for Congress to challenge his unilateral decision to spend $11 billion on non-merit pay raises for federal workers," said House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif.
Obama on Dec. 27 issued an executive order extending the raise to all federal employees, including members of Congress. As part of the deal to prevent the government from going over the so-called fiscal cliff, Congress reversed the section of that order which would have given its own members a $900 annual raise. Senators and representatives currently make $174,000 a year.
While the DeSantis bill has enough Republican votes to pass the House, it faces a tougher road in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
Colleen M. Kelley, president of the NTEU or National Treasury Employees Union, said her group strongly opposed the GOP bill and would work aggressively to defeat it. She said federal employees have contributed more than any other group to addressing the fiscal deficit - $103 billion over 10 years from the pay freeze and higher pension contributions from new hires - and the bill was "a continuation of the anti-federal worker line of attack that became an all-too-familiar staple" of the last session of Congress.
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