Federal employees' pay scales will likely be frozen for the rest of the year, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland said Tuesday. (Getty Images)
Federal employees’ pay scales will likely be frozen for the rest of the year, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland said Tuesday.
Although President Obama last year signed an order that would grant feds a 0.5 percent pay raise at the end of March — which would break the pay-scale freeze that has been in effect for more than two years — House Republicans have repeatedly proposed extending the pay freeze for the rest of 2013. On Monday, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Ky., introduced a continuing resolution that would fund the government for the rest of fiscal 2013 — averting a government shutdown — but would also extend the federal pay freeze.
At a briefing with reporters at the Capitol, Hoyer — a strong advocate for federal employees — said the chances of the freeze being extended are “probably pretty good.”
“I think that as a practical matter, it’s going to hold for the balance of” 2013, Hoyer said. “I’m not for that, you understand, but obviously, I’m not in control, as all of us have observed.”
Federal employees have already contributed $103 billion to deficit reduction over a decade by going 27 months without a pay-scale increase and through increased pension contributions. Extending the pay freeze for the rest of 2013 will cost feds another $11 billion.
Republicans say that the nation’s fiscal crunch is too dire to grant feds even a 0.5 percent raise, which would be the smallest in the six-decade history of the General Schedule, aside from years in which pay was frozen.
Hoyer on Tuesday said that even that small raise has been whittled down by the delay in granting it.
“In effect, they’re getting a one-quarter percent cost-of-living adjustment,” Hoyer said. “Obviously the cost of living is substantially above that, which means they’re getting a net decrease.”
The House last month passed a stand-alone bill, HR 273, freezing federal pay for the rest of the year, which is likely to die in the Senate. The White House issued a statement opposing HR 273 but stopped short of recommending Obama veto it.
Former Sen. Alan Simpson and former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles also recommended a three-year pay freeze when they chaired the White House’s bipartisan deficit reduction commission in 2010.