Federal employee unions are vigorously protesting another move to extend the current two-year freeze on federal pay.
The latest attempt is an amendment to the highway bill now being considered by the Senate. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) wants to use the money saved by prolonging, through 2013, the freeze on basic pay rates. The money saved would be used to fund energy drilling projects, the adoption tax credit and tax deductions for college expenses, state and local property taxes.
“I believe this amendment is an important first step in growing our economy,” Roberts said. The two largest unions sent letters to senators urging them to vote against the amendment, which is scheduled for a vote on Tuesday.
“It is fundamentally wrong for federal employees to be required, again, to serve as the Automatic Teller Machine for programs that have nothing to do with deficit reduction,” said a letter from Beth Moten, legislative and political director for the American Federation of Government Employees.
“Enough is enough.”
Moten and National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen M. Kelley reminded senators that the pay freeze, which is scheduled to end this calendar year, is already taking $60 billion in pay from workers over 10 years and the recently-enacted payroll tax holiday extension will cost employees another $15 billion in the form of increased pension contributions.“While some in Congress continue to make it a priority to protect the wealthiest Americans from contributing anything to deficit reduction, this (Roberts) amendment would cut another $26 billion from this one group of middle class workers,” said Kelley’s letter to senators.