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AFGE Statement On House Vote To Continue Federal Pay Freeze

WASHINGTON, Feb. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. today issued the following statement on the House vote to extend the pay freeze on federal employees for a third consecutive year:

Today, 261 House members voted to deny a quarter of a percent pay raise to more than 2 million federal employees, whose salaries have been frozen since January 2010. This vote sends a demoralizing message to the VA nursing assistant who makes $27,000 a year, to the USDA meat inspector who earns $32,000 a year, to the federal penitentiary correctional officer who earns less than $39,000 a year and, yes, even to the NIH scientist who earns over $100,000 a year.

The message from these House members is loud and clear: we don't value the work that you do, and we think you should continue to be picked on even though no one else is being asked to sacrifice.

These lawmakers are more than happy to freeze federal employee salaries year after year, yet they turn a blind eye to the rampant growth in taxpayer-funded salaries of contractor employees. The cap in contractor salaries has more than doubled in the past 10 years and jumped 10 percent in the past year alone. Capping these contractor salaries at $200,000 a year would save taxpayers at least $5 billion every year, or $50 billion over 10 years.

Federal employees have had their salaries frozen since January 2010, while employees hired this year will pay nearly four times more for their retirement than other employees. Combined, these actions will save taxpayers $103 billion during the next 10 years.

President Obama has proposed lifting the pay freeze by providing employees a slight 0.5% pay increase on April 1. Yet some lawmakers oppose even that modest adjustment and want to extend the current pay freeze through the end of the calendar year.

Meanwhile, Congress has done absolutely nothing to slow the rampant growth in taxpayer-funded salaries for contractor employees. Currently, Department of Defense contractors can charge the government a whopping $763,000 for each of their contract workers, while there is no cap at all for most non-Defense contractor employees. The compensation rate for federal contractors jumped 10 percent just in the past year.

"Unless and until Congress cracks down on these runaway contractor salaries and other areas of spending largess, federal employees should not be forced to pay one penny more toward deficit reduction," Cox said.

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