House approves pay freeze as new study addresses federal compensation

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 1 2012 5:28 p.m. MST

"Since President Obama took office, the number of federal workers that make over $150,000 a year has more than doubled," GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney said at an Americans For Prosperity event in November. "I insist that we limit the salaries and benefits of public workers to those which exist in the private sector. Public servants shouldn't get a better deal than the taxpayers they work for."

After the 2010 midterm election, Obama placed a pay freeze on executive branch workers. The administration is planning to propose an end to the freeze and to include a 0.5 percent pay raise in its fiscal 2013 budget, the Agence France-Presse reported in early January.

However, Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., introduced legislation that would extend the freeze until Dec. 31, 2013. The bill, H.R. 3835, would also freeze the salaries of Congressional lawmakers and federal employees.

The Hill reports the bill was approved Wednesday evening, 309-117. The bill was supported by 72 Democrats, although just 50 were needed to approve the bill's passage.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer criticized Duffy's legislation during his weekly press briefing, saying it was only designed to score political points, The Hill reports.

"Republicans are continuing to waste time on a pay-freeze bill which, I think, is not justified, and continue to avoid suggestions that the wealthiest in America pay their fair share," Hoyer said.

According to Roll Call, Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, disagrees.

"At a time when Utah families are struggling with tight budgets, now is not the time for members of Congress or federal employees to receive a pay increase," Matheson said. "Reducing the red ink back here and putting us on a path toward a balanced budget will take shared sacrifice and that starts with us, not just talking the talk, but walking the walk."

The Obama administration has also renewed a previous push to cap the pay of government contracting executives at $200,000, the Washington Post reports.

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