Congressman Rob Bishop (UT-01) today opposed legislation to eliminate the "2013 statutory pay adjustment for federal employees," commonly referred to as the "Federal Pay-Freeze Act." [H.R. 273] Specifically, H.R. 273 would extend the federal worker pay freeze through the remainder of 2013.
"Let me be very clear. I do not oppose a pay freeze for Members of Congress. That is not why I oppose this bill. I've had my pay frozen for many years and have supported the efforts to do so. In fact, members of Congress already have their pay frozen -- whether or not this bill becomes law," said Bishop. "This bill freezes, for a third year, the salaries of federal workers including those at Hill Air Force Base who repair the equipment needed to maintain the safety of our war fighters and other essential defense systems. They make on average twenty thousand dollars less than the average Washington bureaucrat. They are also subject to a furlough, which could also cut up to twenty percent of their wages. This is unfair to them."
This week, during the House Rules Committee hearing on the bill, Bishop shared concerns over the detrimental impact the new policy will have on some of our nation's most uniquely skilled workers.
Click here to view Bishop's Remarks
Bishop's concerns with the legislation include the following:
· The bill unfairly singles out federal employees, including those at Hill Air Force Base, for a continued pay freeze when their pay has already been frozen for two years.
· Employees at Hill Air Force Base, who are among the most highly and uniquely skilled technicians and workers in the country, have not had any cost of living adjustment for the past two years and extending it to a third year would make it increasingly difficult for families to adjust to rising costs of commodities and products associated with every-day life.
· While the national debt problem is unprecedented and must be resolved, the total elimination of the federal workforce, even if practicable, would not be a fraction of what it will take to begin to pay down the debt. The federal worker pay freeze for the past two years has already cost federal workers deserved and needed salary increases and unfairly singles them out as a group for continued financial sacrifice, impacting families and morale of the critical defense civilian workforce. Further, mandatory spending adjustments and redundant programs should be our first consideration, as recommended by the Simpson-Bowles Presidential Commission.
· The "sledgehammer" approach taken by H.R. 273 of hitting all federal workers with continued freezes unfairly penalizes the lower paid federal workers, which is detrimental to morale and makes it increasingly difficult to attract and retain highly-trained and technically skilled workers who manage some of our most essential national defense programs.