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Mr. MARINO. Madam Speaker, it is undeniable that our nation faces dire economic circumstances. This Congress must continue to cut spending and reduce the size and scope of Washington. I strongly support the efforts of House Republicans to make responsible and necessary cuts to the federal workforce. A responsible federal pay freeze is an important part of that equation, particularly for Members of Congress, the President, and political appointees.
However, I rise today to express concerns regarding H.R. 3835 which we are now considering. I believe that the current pay freeze and a continuation of it has a disproportionate impact on employees that face mandatory retirement age, such as many of our law enforcement officers. These employees put their lives at risk every single day to defend our safety and freedom.
I recently toured several federal prisons located in my district and it is unbelievable what these guards go through to ensure that some of the most violent criminals in America remain behind bars. Due to the physical and mental abuse that these guards go through during their careers, it is mandatory that they retire at 57. Unfortunately, the officers currently near the mandatory retirement age will not be able to make up any lost salary by working a few extra years.
Additionally, I am concerned about the effects a continued pay freeze will have on recruitment and retention of federal law enforcement officers. Prison officers already face a long and rigorous hiring process and deplorably low wages. The prospect of not seeing an increase in pay will add yet another barrier to recruiting the best and most fit to guard our prisons and protect our safety.
I will support this legislation because I believe that Members of Congress and political appointees should not see a pay increase and that a responsible pay freeze is needed. I ask the sponsor of this legislation, House and Senate leaders, and the administration to consider the lasting impacts of a pay freeze on the federal law enforcement officers who put their lives at risk every single day to ensure that our families are safe.
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