It’s well known that federal employee spirits are low, but how low?

Top Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and two of its subcommittees want the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study “trends in federal employee morale” and what can be done to improve it.

In a letter Thursday to the GAO, Reps. Elijah E. Cummings (Md.), the ranking member on the full committee; Stephen Lynch (Mass.) and Gerald E. Connolly (Va.) said low morale “may be compromising the federal government’s ability to serve the American people.”

Citing the recent three-year freeze on basic federal pay rates, unpaid furlough days for some workers and a partial government shutdown, the representatives began their letter with something the workforce well knows:

“The last few years have been challenging for federal employees.”

Twitter: @JoeDavidsonWP