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To Extend the Pay Limitation for Members of Congress and Federal Employees

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Madam Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to H.R. 3835, which would extend the current-year pay freeze for Federal workers for an additional year through 2013. This will be the third year of a pay freeze.

Similar to most of my colleagues who have spoken here today, I do support a freeze for Congress. I have voted six times to freeze Congress' pay.

While my good friend from Utah does point out that there are some high-end, high-salaried Federal employees, you have to remember that we have surgeons at the VA, very competent doctors at the VA that serve our veterans. We have scientists at NIH. We have very, very good attorneys at the SEC prosecuting very complex fraud cases. To attract those individuals, we do need to attract very competent and highly skilled individuals, and that's where those higher salaries are aggregated.

But we should be reminded that the vast majority of our Federal employees are middle-income earners. Oddly enough, we could have addressed this if this bill had gone through committee, through regular order. This bill has come to the floor without going through committee. It has not been subject to amendment.

We could have come up with a bill that said, okay, we are going to freeze the pay of high-income Federal employees. We didn't do that.

So you've got people out there making $30,000, $40,000 a year, secretaries and other staff, that their pay has been frozen for. If this goes through, it will be 3 years. So we could have done a better job if this bill had gone through the regular order and gone through committee.

I'm also concerned about the rationale behind this legislation. Similar to many of my colleagues today, while I support the freeze on congressional pay, we see a lot of legislation coming up in this Congress that attacks Federal employees, and I think this is one more example of that.

I totally oppose it.

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This is another in a series of legislative attacks that have targeted our Federal workers throughout the 112th Congress. It will further erode employee morale and diminish the Federal Government's ability to attract the best and brightest to perform the important jobs that we need to perform. Our dedicated civil servants play a vital role in such critical areas as law enforcement, national defense, public health, and the delivery of services to America's veterans, elderly, and the disabled. They should not bear a disproportionate burden when it comes to addressing our Nation's budget problems.

So I urge my colleagues to join me in opposing any further efforts to balance the Nation's budget on the backs of our hardworking Federal employees by voting ``no'' on H.R. 3835.

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