Obama Overridden By House With Vote On Federal Pay Raise

On Friday the House passed legislation that aims to override Barack Obama’s executive order and the Democrats objections and will freeze the pay of federal workers for a third year in a row should it be signed into law. The House voted 261-154 in favor of the bill.

While federal workers, including Congress are included in this bill, people serving in the military are exempt. The executive order would have given the nation’s 2 million civilian federal workers a 0.5 percent cost-of-living raise from March 27, when the current federal spending agreement expires, through the end of the year.

The bill garnered support from 43 Democrats, while 10 Republicans voted against it.

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The Hill reports,

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The legislation is an attempt to override President Obama’s executive order in December that seeks to give federal workers a 0.5 percent pay hike in late March. That order incensed congressional Republicans, who criticized it as an attempt to seize control of an issue that has traditionally been under Congress’s purview.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said the bill is needed to control the costs of the federal government where possible, in order to pursue other objectives.

“It is a small price to pay, consistent with the President’s previous pay freeze, to hold pay increases of federal employees for one more year,” Issa said during debate.

“We could do this today, or we could cut the National Institutes of Health. We could do this today, or we could park two or three of our aircraft carriers and lay off the crews.”

The Obama administration opposes the bill, claiming that their proposed pay hike would “help ensure that the government remains competitive in attracting and retaining the NationĖˆs best and brightest individuals for public service.”

Fox News reports,

The bill’s sponsor, freshman Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., said his “modest” bill “simply recognizes our current fiscal reality and the fact that government salaries must bear some relationship to the private sector salaries that support them.” His bill, estimated at saving $11 billion over 10 years, would also extend the freeze on congressional member pay, now running through September, until the end of the year.

The freeze only applies to cost-of-living adjustments, and not merit and longevity raises. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee cited figures showing that, with merit-based raises and other “step” increases, the median pay for a federal employee in September last year was $72,714, up more than $3,000 from two years earlier. Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said the pay freeze would cost each employee $274 for the year.

Those supporting the freeze say the average federal worker compensation, including benefits, is nearly double the median U.S. household income. They point to a 2012 Congressional Budget Office study showing that, while wages are similar for federal workers and comparable private sector workers, federal workers on the whole had more generous benefit packages. Overall, it said, total compensation is 16 percent higher in the public sector.

But federal worker unions rely on Bureau of Labor Statistics surveys showing that in most localities federal employees trail behind private sector counterparts in wages. This is most evident for more highly educated employees who give up lucrative opportunities in the private sector to serve the public.

Colleen M. Kelley, the National Treasury Employees Union president said the House bill was “a particularly galling step in light of the fact that federal workers have contributed far more than any other group to economic recovery and deficit reduction.”

Frank Wolf (R-VA) wrote in a letter to his colleagues, “This bill is nothing more than a political stunt that targets the hardworking, dedicated men and women of the civil service.”

While I realize that many Federal employees make far less than the amounts put forth that are astronomically high, do realize that there are pensions tied to these jobs too. Federal employees work for taxpayers and are paid with tax dollars. I simply ask, when tax payers are having a difficult time and are having hours cut due to Obamacare, layoffs, due to Federal regulations and mandates, and pressure by the Federal government on employers to purchase specific kinds of health insurance for their employees, I have to then ask why Federal workers are to be considered more special compared to the average tax payer trying to make ends meet? As with anything, if you are a Federal worker I don’t blame you for being upset, but neither do I think it is right to kill the private sector and then shoot those in it by adding more burden on our shoulders to support a bloated Federal government.

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