U.S. Representative Tom Marino (R-PA) released the following statement in response to voting against H.R. 273, a bill to eliminate the 2013 statutory pay adjustment for Federal employees:
"As I voted against this bill today, I was reminded of the many law enforcement officers across the country who put their lives on the line to enforce our laws and keep us safe. Hardworking federal prison guards in places like Canaan, Allenwood, and Lewisburg work on cell blocks holding the most violent and savage criminals and earn less than $40,000 a year. Denying a corrections officer a $200 pay increase is not my idea of getting serious about deficit reduction.
"Congress can and must make the tough decisions to reduce the size and scope of government, but this bill targets the people who staff our hospitals, secure our borders, and care for our veterans. This bill was brought up for a vote in the least transparent and straightforward way imaginable -- no committee mark-ups or hearings, little opportunity for members to debate the legislation, and no possibility to offer substantive changes to improve its content.
"Bills like H.R. 273 are brought to the House floor purely to make a point, and I will not be an actor in political theater. It's been made clear that this bill will go nowhere in the Senate, it's been made clear that the President will not sign it, and I am fed up with these so-called "messaging" bills that do not address the challenges our nation faces.
"We need to be debating serious legislation to replace the sequester and put our country on the right financial course -- this bill does not pass that test and was put on the House floor only for political gamesmanship. Prolonged employee pay freezes and reductions must be done thoughtfully, starting at the top with Members of Congress, the President and Vice President, Cabinet Secretaries, and top-earning managers in the public sector."
Representative Marino introduced H.R. 237 earlier this year, the Federal Hiring Freeze Act of 2013, which would place a responsible hiring freeze on the federal government until the budget deficit is eliminated. Instead of slashing current pay, this legislation would provide that federal employees are not replaced when they leave their current positions. It also provides common-sense exceptions where hiring would be permitted, including for federal law enforcement purposes. While this proposal is just a small step in the right direction, it is a far more effective approach to save money and decrease the size of government.