POLITICS

House votes to reverse $11B executive order raising federal employee salaries

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke

House lawmakers voted to reverse an executive order recently signed by President Obama that would raise the salary of federal employees and officials such as Vice President Joe Biden, even as the administration is considering a cut to next year’s pay for the military.

“Federal employees are on average compensated 16 percent more than their private sector counterparts,” House Oversight and Government Reform chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said in a statement. “If President Obama does not get serious about finding spending cuts to avoid his sequestration, many federal employees will be furloughed, resulting in an actual reduction in compensation and harm to productivity.”

The bill passed with bipartisan support (261-154), though Obama opposed the bill. “This modest pay increase will help ensure that the Government remains competitive in attracting and retaining the Nationˈs best and brightest individuals for public service,” The White House Office of Management and Budget said in a statement opposing the law.

Federal employees have been under a pay freeze for the last two years, but even so, “federal employee pay has gone up by $3,328 while private sector pay has gone up only $1,404,” Issa also said. The executive order would cost $11 billion over ten years.

Though the president is looking to raise federal pay, outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta suggested a cut to the scheduled pay increase for the military. “Panetta will recommend to Congress that military salaries be limited to a one percent increase in 2014,” CNN reported, explaining that Panetta is “effectively decreasing troop salaries next year.”

The American Legion slammed the proposal. “This is not the way to go about saving money,” American Legion National Commander Jim E. Koutz said in a statement. “Making the men and women of the military pay for out of control spending by others is unwarranted, unfair and just plain wrong.”

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