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Letter to President Obama: Reconsider Freezing Federal Pay


Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08) introduced legislation this afternoon to prevent President Obama's pay raise for Members of Congress and freeze Congressional salaries through fiscal year 2014.

"Lifting the pay freeze for Members of Congress at a time when we are working to restore fiscal health to the federal government is unacceptable, and I will work to prevent it," said Fitzpatrick. "For the past four years, many private sector workers have seen their salaries reduced and small businesses have tightened their belts to ensure our economy remains afloat in these difficult times. Families are making sacrifices to make ends meet, and Congress must follow their lead."

On December 27th, 2012, President Obama signed an Executive Order rescinding the federal pay freeze effective March 27, 2013. Fitzpatrick's legislation prevents Congress from receiving the pay raise scheduled by President Obama.

Fitzpatrick concluded, "I urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to join me in demonstrating to the American people that Congress is willing to lead by example and reject this inappropriate and unnecessary pay raise. Should the legislation not pass by March 27th, I will not accept the funds decreed by President Obama's Executive order."

The text of Congressman Fitzpatrick's letter to President Obama is included below.

Dear President Obama,

I write to express my serious concern regarding the Executive Order issued on December 27, 2012 rescinding the Federal pay freeze effective on March 27th, 2013.

Lifting the federal pay freeze as we struggle to solve the government's spending problem does not strike me or my constituents as a prudent choice to put our country back on the right track.

For the past four years, many private workers have seen their salaries reduced. As small businesses have tightened their belts, their sacrifices have kept our economy afloat in these tough times. Families are doing their best to make ends meet.

According to a study conducted by USA Today in March of 2010, the average Federal worker earns 20% more than a private worker in a similar occupation. When Federal benefits are taken into account, the rate of disparity is even wider.

Furthermore, research conducted by my office revealed in October of 2012 that the Philadelphia Regional Veterans Benefits Administration paid over $1.4M of bonuses over the past three years, despite failing to meet their own processing goal 54% of the time. Additionally, considering that my office is trying to fix nearly 300 botched claims, their quality leaves much to be desired. The Philadelphia VBA is failing our veterans; yet these Federal employees continued to receive bonuses for poor results while getting paid significantly more than their private sector counterparts.

While there are countless Federal employees like our military who serve our nation well and should have their pay freeze reexamined, the misalignment of many Federal salaries compared to the private sector is yet another example of government spending focused on the wrong priorities.

I urge you to reconsider your Executive Order. In the meantime, I will work to pass legislation that will rescind the effects of your order on Members of Congress.

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