In December 2010, Congress passed H.R. 3082, legislation which included a two year federal civilian employee pay freeze through December 31, 2012. The pay freeze affected the Vice President, Members of Congress, and other federal employees. This was a part of the overall spending cuts taking place in Washington to attempt to correct the bloated spending by President Obama and Congressional Democrats in the two years before. Then, without warning, on December 27, 2012, President Obama issued an Executive Order to provide a new pay increase for the Vice President, Members of Congress, and civilian federal employees. This EO was issued without Congressional approval and without the support of a majority of the House of Representatives.
"It is unbelievably hypocritical for Congress to pass legislation that requires others to tighten their belts while at the same time increasing our own pay," stated Westmoreland. "While we continue to discuss the need for meaningful spending cuts and reforms to the way this government spends money, we must absolutely include Congress in those debates. In fact, total funding for the House of Representatives has been reduced by more than 11.4 percent since Republicans took over in 2011. Those cuts alone have reduced Congress' overall budget by about $86 million."
In response, Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA) introduced H.R. 6726, the Congressional Pay Freeze and Fiscal Responsibility Act. Congressman Westmoreland immediately signed on as an original cosponsor of the bill and House Republicans immediately brought the bill to the floor for passage. It passed the House 287-129 and is now pending before the Senate.
"I strongly support this legislation and urge my colleagues in the Senate to take it up and pass it quickly," stated Westmoreland. "We have to face the fact that our economy is not as strong as it should be and a big part of that is due to unrestrained federal spending. No one is immune from these tough economic times, including Congress. I will continue to oppose any pay or budget increases for Congress and federal civilian employees as long as our economy continues to suffer under President Obama's failed economic policy of spend now, pay later."
In addition to voting on this legislation, Congress included language in H.R. 8 that just passed the House earlier this week to remove a cost of living adjustment in pay for Members of Congress.