Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Ranking Member Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK), Financial and Contracting Oversight Subcommittee Chairwoman Claire McCaskill (D-MO), and Financial and Contracting Oversight Subcommittee Ranking Member Ron Johnson (R-WI) introduced S. 986, a bill to prohibit performance awards in the Senior Executive Service during sequestration. While the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) ordered a freeze on most bonuses for federal workers during sequestration, current law provides an exemption for members of the Senior Executive Service (SES), who are among the most highly-paid government employees. This legislation closes the exemption loophole to ensure both non-SES federal employees and SES employees are treated equally and do not receive bonuses during sequestration.
"It is unacceptable that top government officials enjoy a different set of rules regarding bonuses during sequestration," Dr. Coburn said. "It's wrong for the highest paid federal employees to be given bonuses while their counterparts are facing furloughs. This legislation will ensure bonus restrictions apply equally to SES and non-SES employees."
"The idea that some of the highest paid federal government employees could be getting bonuses while others are being furloughed is outrageous," said McCaskill, Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Financial & Contracting Oversight. "This legislation will ensure that doesn't happen."
"When private sector companies experience financial difficulty, they must cut costs to survive. Similarly, reducing the deficit and balancing the budget forces all parts of the federal government to do some belt-tightening," said Johnson, Ranking Member of the Senate Subcommittee on Financial & Contracting Oversight. "The sequester was a bad idea and bad policy which is why I opposed it. Nevertheless, it is the law. The highest paid federal government workers should not be shielded from a law that impacts everyone else. This bipartisan measure will ensure that they are not."