Thank You, Jim Moran!

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    Rep. Jim Moran (D-8th) blasts the proposed (by the White House) two-year freeze on federal employee salaries. I mean, if this were part of a broader “freeze” on all spending, not just a gratuitous slap at federal employees, and also in the context of an overall plan – including revenue increases and not just spending cuts – to reduce the budget deficit, I’d be fine with it. But it isn’t, and I’m  not. Bleh.

    Anyway, thank you to Jim Moran for speaking out against this purely political move. Here’s his statement.

    This move will only embolden the opponents of civil service, those who got elected claiming the federal government is broken and will now set about trying to break it.

    Unilaterally freezing pay for civil servants separate from a comprehensive, deficit reduction package unfairly asks federal employees to carry a burden that should be shared by all. This freeze strikes at the heart of pay parity, penalizing civilian federal employees in the Defense Department, CIA and other agencies who work side-by-side with our active duty service men and women overseas.

    A two year freeze also threatens to exacerbate the brain drain from our federal agencies as the baby boomers reach retirement. It flies in the face of the basic fact that federal employees, particularly those in the management sector, are already underpaid when compared to their private sector counterparts.

    But heck, who needs facts when the polling says this is a popular move? Is this the kind of change we can believe in?  Yes, that was a rhetorical question.

    P.S. I contacted Rep. Connolly’s office earlier this afternoon and am looking forward to their statement as well.

    UPDATE 7:00 pm: Rep. Connolly’s statement is after the “fold.”  I couldn’t agree more.

    As we continue to emerge from the worst recession since the Great Depression, Democrats and Republicans agree that long-term deficit reduction must be a top priority.

    Make no mistake, reducing the deficit and paying down the debt will not be easy and all Americans, including federal employees, will have to do their part.  But a federal pay freeze should only be considered as part of an overall deficit reduction plan.  Singling out federal employees in advance of a comprehensive plan is counter-productive and risks leaving Americans with the false impression that federal employee pay raises are a significant contributor to our national debt.

    The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, tax cuts without offsetting spending reductions, and rising entitlement costs are the fundamental drivers of rising deficits.  Allowing federal employees to be used as a political football merely serves to distract from the hard choices we must make to bring our nation’s fiscal house in order.

    Furthermore, thousands of civilian federal employees are serving alongside our armed forces in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other dangerous posts around the world.  While the President, justifiably, is not proposing to freeze military pay, federal employees working in those war zones and facing the same risks of death and injury should receive the same respect.    

    • Clemgo3165

      As a State employee, I haven’t had a raise since 2007, and won’t likely get one until after 2012.  Virtually everyone in the working world has had to take a pay cut or seen their salaries frozen.  While I think Federal employees do good work, I don’t see the problem with asking them to forgo a raise for the next two years.

    • Cool_Arrow

      I see why Moran is against this (being that a significant chunk of his district are federal employees obviously) but to me it is overall a reasonable thing to do. I wish he would expand more on what else he is going to do and who else will bear the brunt of cutbacks or revenue increases (he has already said that he is against permanent extension of the over $250K income and I hope he sticks to it).

      It doesn’t forego anyone’s ability to move up the GS pay scale either through step or level nor does it impair their bonus potential. All that it means is that government employees won’t get the 2010 annual cost of living increase which this year was going to be 1.9%. Granted this still stinks for them and I’m not going to say it doesn’t matter but as long as employees are still able to move up levels and get a pay increase via steps or levels this is in line with what the private sector has recently done. I know of plenty who didn’t receive raises or were forced to take pay cuts in recent years. I think that it is reasonable to expect federal employees to not receive small cost of living adjustments as long as there are no serious cuts to their current salaries/benefits or hampering of their ability to move up the pay scale. That said, I’m not a Republican who says I’ve got mine to hell with you but I really hope that the President will clearly explain this to people and say why he did it and what else he has in mind. I can’t wait for Cantor to take credit for this but to say that it doesn’t go far enough. Oh the empty suit that is Eric Cantor!  

    • VADEM

      is a political ploy to appease the rethugs and make them STFU. It is a measly 0.05% of the deficit. Obama is meeting with them tomorrow so he as usual wanted to bring something to the table to make them happy.

      On the one hand it is better to have a freeze rather than mass layoffs. On the other hand it screws with the economy because their disposable income isn’t going up.

      it was a stupid stupid move and he is getting blasted by Trumka, economists, progressives–everyone is piling on. As Trumka said, we need NEW jobs, not screw around with the ones we already have.

      Between this, the looming tax cut fight and not extending the unemployment benefits, Obama has thoroughly and completely pissed off his base.

      Can we say President Palin in 2013? Because if he continues to make these boneheaded decisions for the next two years, he can forget about another term. Seems he wants it that way.

    • gene magruder

      President Obama could have looked at the lower wage earners and allwed them to get raises and froze those o the top tiers. He could have also used this as an opportunity to slam the repugs on their 700 million dollar tax scheme. My wife and i said the same thing as we watched him once again give into the repugs and say lets work together. They will not work with him, they have said so, now put the presidency on the line and nail them. when the hell is he going to come out swinging.  

    • The time to have done this was when the government announced that there would be no cost of living increase on social security.  That was so incredibly unpopular, that coming out and saying that in addition to this, we would also be eliminating raises for federal workers, would at least given the party some political benefits going into the midterms, and might have tempered down some of the anger seniors felt.

      But given that we’ve weathered that particular storm, I really don’t see what giving this up now (for nothing in return, as others have posted) does for us.  And the two year blanket decision makes it look a little scared.  Here so many federal voices are saying that the economy is getting stronger (even if unemployment is not declining) and yet NOW we take away raises?

      It just looks cheap.  Maybe it needed to be done, and maybe there were good reasons, economically and politically for doing it, but those windows are now behind us.

    • Teddy Goodson

      out of the White House. Ever. Throw away your bargaining chips in advance, get nothing in return is his modus operandi, over and over. Is it the advice of his Wall Street-oriented advsiors on his Economic Council that keeps Obama acting so foolishly? Or, worse yet, is him?

    • somethingblue

      “I don’t know the answer to any question about North Korea that begins with the word ‘why.'”

      I’m starting to feel the same way about the Obama administration.