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Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to oppose H.R. 273. This legislation is wrongheaded, unnecessarily antagonistic to federal workers, and it creates consequences which will be felt much longer than the 0.5 percent pay raise due to Federal employees starting in April.
There are multiple problems with this legislation--here are a few that anyone can understand:
First, federal employees have contributed their fair share to reduce our deficit and debt. Through the pay freeze and increased contributions to their pensions, they have cut $103 billion over ten years--that is roughly $50,000 per employee. The 0.5 percent increase in their pay that they have been given after two years of stagnant wages only costs $11 billion over ten years. That is not what is driving our nation's National debt.
Second, federal employees have not only seen their wages stagnate, they have also seen their compensation--their wages and benefits--go down, even as the private sector has seen wage growth of 3.3 percent and compensation growth of 4.1 percent.
Third, the proposed savings H.R. 273 promises are likely to never be realized. The best federal employees will leave for greener passages, and the most qualified candidates will seek opportunities elsewhere. The deficit reduction this bill promises will require increased training in the short term and may lead to a less efficient, and therefore more expensive Federal government for decades to come.
I oppose this bill, H.R. 273, because our country simply cannot afford to drive our best federal employees out of our country's service.
Instead, I have cosponsored and I urge the passage of a bill offered by Mr. Connolly of Virginia, which freezes Members of Congress' pay at current levels. I do not want a pay raise; I do not need a pay raise. However, our federal employees have paid far more than their fair share and do not deserve this additional unnecessary and punitive treatment from this Congress. I urge my colleagues to oppose the bill.
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