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.