George Allen (R): Until Washington gets its fiscal house in order and deals with the pending sequestration, there should not be automatic pay raises for federal employees nor for members of Congress (in fact, I have proposed a Paycheck Penalty Act, withholding pay for Congress when they fail to pass budget/appropriations bills on time). . . . When federal employees identify cost-saving ideas that are successful, they ought to receive a bonus from the savings.
Tim Kaine (D): When I was mayor of Richmond and then governor, I worked across the aisle to make smart spending cuts and streamline government, but never targeted government employees. I support ending the current pay freeze, but believe that it must be combined with a comprehensive budget deal to ensure our long-term fiscal health.
Allen: I support reducing the federal workforce through attrition. I found a hiring freeze to be an effective means of right-sizing the state workforce when I served as governor, with exemptions for public safety and health services. A similar approach can be made in the federal government with prioritization of national security and public health.
Kaine: Federal employees are a crucial part of Virginia’s population and economy, and provide some vital services to our country. We must be sure not to unfairly target public servants. Because of our current fiscal situation, we must take steps to balance the budget, and it is likely that everyone will have to make sacrifices. . . . As senator, I will support making our government more efficient and making targeted cuts to get our budget under control.
Allen: If this concept [employees contributing more toward their retirement] goes forward, it should apply only to prospective new employees. I believe it is very important to honor the commitments made by government to federal employees and retirees. That is why, as governor, I made it the policy of the commonwealth to stop the discriminatory tax on federal and military retirees whose benefits had been taxed by Virginia.
Kaine: Given our current budget crisis, we must take significant steps to rein in spending. We should not, however, single out federal employees in determining our budget going forward. There are much larger savings to be found elsewhere.
Five-day mail delivery
Allen: We need a comprehensive solution to the current Postal Service financial problems, which could include this proposal, but would also have to include other changes to the Postal Service’s business model so that it adapts to new technology.