Proposal from Rep. Fitzpatrick is a cheap political ploy, union leader saysWASHINGTON, Jan. 1, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Federation of Government Employees is calling on members of Congress to reject a mean-spirited proposal from Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick that would extend the two-year pay freeze on federal employees for another year. Federal employees already have sacrificed $103 billion over 10 years to deficit reduction – $60 billion of which has come directly from freezing salaries in 2011 and 2012. President Obama has delayed until April the already-paltry 0.5% adjustment proposed for 2013, so the actual raise would amount to just 0.25% for the fiscal year. Yet even that tiny increase isn't harsh enough for Congressman Fitzpatrick. Rep. Fitzpatrick has decided to add insult to injury, literally, by maligning the federal employees in his district and proposing to punish all federal workers with an entirely unwarranted extension of the pay freeze for all of 2013. "Reducing the salaries of federal workers through an extended pay freeze is a cheap political ploy," AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said. "Not only does it inflict tremendous damage on the families of these modestly paid workers, more than half of whom are veterans, but it also hits the communities where these employees live, since they will continue to be unable to afford any kind of economic activity beyond paying for the bare necessities of living. "Proposals such as Representative Fitzpatrick's are about one thing: causing a further decline in living standards for America's working families," Cox said. Fitzpatrick complains about the processing of veterans' benefits. The fact is that the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) attempted to outsource the work to a private firm last year, and as is so often the case, the privatization was a complete and expensive disaster. VBA employees had to redo all of the outsourced work. So if Fitzpatrick wants to inflict punishment on those responsible for "botched claims," he needs to look at VBA's contractor workforce, not the in-house federal workforce.