On Friday, U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01) voted against H.R. 273, a bill that would continue to deny federal civilian employees a standard cost of living adjustment for a third year in a row.
"Middle-class federal employees have been targeted for years, contributing nearly $103 billion toward deficit reduction through reduced wages and pension benefits," said Hanabusa. "Federal families are as vulnerable to the challenges of tough economic times as any other working American family."
Annual pay adjustments for federal employees have been in law since 1990 and are based on the Employment Cost Index (ECI). Federal employees have had their income frozen since January 2010 under the Continuing Appropriations and Surface Transportation Extensions Act. On December 27, 2012, President Obama issued an executive order directing that federal civilian employees would receive a 0.5% wage adjustment after more than 26 months of frozen income. However, this bill cancels the President's executive order and extends the freeze through December 31, 2013.
"My Republican colleagues are trying to paint this 0.5% adjustment in wages as an undeserved pay raise for federal workers, but don't be misled. This is just a fraction of the 1.2% income adjustment they are due this year under the law, and it does not make up for what they lost over the last 26 months. We need to have a serious conversation about how we can responsibly reduce government spending, not continue the Republicans' harmful charade of placing the burden on our public servants."
The House voted 261-154 to pass the bill. It now heads to the Senate.
Earlier this week, Hanabusa was a guest speaker at the American Federation of Government Employees' (AFGE) Legislative Conference where she talked about the issues facing federal workers and how she plans to continue to support them in Congress.
Video of her speech from the AFGE Legislative Conference: http://bit.ly/X32lcI