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Senator offers measure to extend pay freeze for third year

The Senate is slated to vote on March 13 on a surface transportation bill amendment that would extend the federal employee pay freeze through the end of 2013.

The Senate is slated to vote on March 13 on a surface transportation bill amendment that would extend the federal employee pay freeze through the end of 2013. The amendment to S. 1813, introduced by Sen Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), also would extend the pay freeze for members of Congress and legislative employees.

The savings would be used to offset other measures contained in the bill.

Federal employee unions were quick to urge lawmakers to reject the measure. The American Federal of Government Employees sent a letter to senators providing examples of dollar amounts that already have been lost by those in certain federal job categories under the two-year freeze—as well as projections of further amounts that will be sacrificed under a pay-freeze extension.

“Already, a GS-5 meat and poultry inspector earning $31,315 has given up $1,265 in lost salary increases from the two-year freeze,” the letter stated. “If the freeze continues for a third year, the inspector will have lost $3,842.”

The union, which said 60 percent of federal workers are paid “the equivalent of a GS-9 or below,” also included in the letter a table detailing current and projected losses from the pay freeze for GS-5, GS-7 and GS-9 employees.

The National Treasury Employees Union issued a statement from NTEU President Colleen Kelley condemning the amendment.

“With the federal workforce already contributing $75 billion to our nation’s fiscal challenges through a pay freeze and increased retirement contributions, it is outrageous to once again single out this group of hardworking middle class Americans while refusing to ask for any shared sacrifice from millionaires and billionaires,” Kelley stated. “Enough is enough. Federal employees’ paychecks and retirement programs are not piggy banks to be raided to pay for tax breaks attached to a highway bill.”

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