WASHINGTON, D.C – U.S. Representative Martha Roby (R-AL) today voted to reinstate a freeze on federal salaries and rescind a pay hike ordered by President Barack Obama for federal workers and Members of Congress.
“In a time of historic budget difficulty, the bill rightly seeks to limit federal spending on the government workforce,” Rep. Roby said. “All employers like the ability to give pay raises to hardworking employees. However, government employee pay raises are a luxury we cannot afford when the government can’t even balance its budget.”
On December 27, 2012, President Obama signed an executive order ending a pay freeze that had been in place since 2009, which set in motion an across the board pay increase for federal employees, including Members of Congress and the Vice President. The President’s pay hike would cost taxpayers $11 billion over the next ten years, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
Rep. Roby proposed an amendment to the legislation that would have also temporarily halted “step” increases for federal workers, which are periodic pay increases based not on merit, but on longevity. According to the Office of Personnel Management, step increases have resulted in a median pay increase of approximately $3,164 per federal employee—all during the so-called pay freeze. Meanwhile, average federal government employee compensation is nearly double the median household income.
“I have been disappointed that over the past two years of the President’s so-called ‘freeze’ on federal pay, federal employees have continued to receive step increases,” Roby stated. “Soon, I will be re-introducing the Honest Budget Act to continue the fight for honesty and accountability in the budget process.”
A similar provision was included in Rep. Roby’s Honest Budget Act, which she introduced in the 112th Congress. The House considered H.R. 273 under a closed procedural rule, preventing amendments like Roby’s from receiving a vote.
H.R. 273, sponsored by Representative Ron DeSantis (R-FL), passed the House by a vote of 261-154.