2/2/12: The House of Representatives last night voted to approve H.R. 3835, authored by Representative Sean Duffy (R-WI), to extend the pay freeze on federal employees and members of Congress through 2013. The bill was brought up under a procedure known as Suspension of the Rules, which prohibits amendments and requires a two-thirds majority to pass. Many members of the House expressed the desire to vote only to extend the pay freeze on their own salaries and not federal employees’, but that option was not allowed by the House Leadership. Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) offered a unanimous consent request to have his bill (H.R. 3858) that would freeze only Congressional pay voted on, but Representative Dennis Ross (R-FL), Chairman of the Federal Workforce Subcommittee and Floor Manager of H.R. 3835, objected, killing that alternative. The vote on H.R. 3835 was 309 to 117.
The House had previously voted to extend the pay freeze through 2013 in H.R. 3630, the payroll tax holiday extension, which is under final consideration in a Conference Committee between the House and Senate, so this action was primarily a political exercise aimed at forcing members of Congress who don’t want to extend the freeze for federal employees to also vote against a pay freeze for themselves at the same time.
NTEU sent a letter to every House member opposing this bill, but also opposed the procedure that did not allow members of the House to amend the bill in order to lift the freeze on rank and file employees while retaining it for themselves, which many wanted to do.
We do not expect H.R. 3835 to advance in the Senate. However, the Conference Committee on H.R. 3630, which is considering whether to include a pay freeze for 2013 and cuts to federal pensions in a final bill to extend the payroll tax holiday, is moving forward with an eye toward final Congressional action by the end of the month or earlier. NTEU will continue to press that Conference Committee to drop the anti-federal employee provisions in its final bill. We will keep you updated on further action involving a 2013 pay increase and other efforts to cut federal employee pay and benefits. To get further information and see what you can do with regard to provisions in H.R. 3630, go to www.NTEU.org.