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Lawmakers move to halt step increases, other raises for rest of year

Feb. 16, 2011 - 06:00AM   |  
By STEPHEN LOSEY   |   Comments
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., is one of the lawmakers offering almost 600 amendments to HR 1, an omnibus spending bill that would fund the government for the remainder of fiscal 2011.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., is one of the lawmakers offering almost 600 amendments to HR 1, an omnibus spending bill that would fund the government for the remainder of fiscal 2011. (Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., on Tuesday proposed an amendment that would strip General Schedule employees of their regularly scheduled step increases for the rest of the year.

Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Ind., introduced an amendment Monday that would prohibit the government from using continuing resolution funds to pay for any employee's salary increase. Another Rokita amendment would bar federal employees from being paid for time spent working for or on behalf of a union or other labor organization.

The amendments are among almost 600 being proposed for addition to HR 1, an omnibus spending bill that would fund the government for the remainder of fiscal 2011.

The Federal Managers Association today sent lawmakers a letter objecting to Issa's and Rokita's amendments that would strip employees of their pay raises. FMA National President Patricia Niehaus said this would strike performance awards and raises earned through promotions, in addition to step increases.

"Similar to their private-sector counterparts, federal workers are confronting rising health care costs, and many are responsible for supporting their families on a single paycheck," Niehaus said. "Taking steps to deny federal employees salary adjustments to correspond with promotions and performance awards, the only means through which an employee can receive a pay raise over the next two years, exacerbates the financial strain already shouldered by these public servants."

Niehaus also said recent media reports that federal employees are overpaid are "falsehoods based on biased data manipulation."

"I fear members of Congress are bowing to political pressure stemming from the spread of misinformation relating to both the composition of the federal work force and the impact instituting a freeze will have on deficit reduction efforts," Niehaus said. "To see lawmakers latch onto these reports as ‘fact' is truly disheartening."

President Obama froze some federal pay raises in 2011 and 2012 mostly by canceling the annual increase to the GS pay scales but his freeze left step increases, promotions, bonuses, and raises from pay-for-performance systems intact.

Federal Times estimates that roughly 1.1 million GS employees would still receive more than $2.5 billion in step increase raises in 2011 and 2012.

PDFs of the HR 1 amendments can be found http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CREC-2011-02-14/pdf/CREC-2011-02-14-pt1-PgH776-3.pdf">here and http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CREC-2011-02-15/pdf/CREC-2011-02-15-pt1-PgH924-2.pdf">here.

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