Scott Brown to join Senate homeland security, military committees

By Ed O'Keefe
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 3, 2010; B03

Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), who campaigned on the idea of freezing federal worker salaries to control the deficit, may soon get to explore the topic further.

Senate Republicans announced Tuesday that Brown will join the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, as well as the Armed Services and Veterans Affairs committees.

The homeland security panel, chaired by Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.), oversees the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Postal Service and federal-workforce issues.

In his campaign, Brown supported a freeze on federal salaries as a way to rein in overall government spending.

"I recognize that our federal workers do important work," he said at a January campaign event. "But it's not right that lesser-paid private-sector workers suffering through a recession have to pay for expensive government salaries."

He also suggested the salary freeze during a later interview with ABC's Barbara Walters.

Federal worker unions and other public-sector experts sharply criticized his comments, arguing that federal salaries are often higher than private-sector wages because government workers are more highly skilled and specialized.

Brown, a 30-year National Guard veteran who currently serves as a lieutenant colonel in the Judge Advocate General's Corps, said in a statement that he is proud of his new assignments.

"We are currently involved in two wars, and these committees are critical in keeping our country safe, as well as protecting the men and women who defend us," Brown said. "It is equally important that the men and women in uniform receive the care and benefits they have earned through their selfless service. I look forward to working with my Republican and Democratic colleagues to carry out the important work of these committees for the good of our state and our country."

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