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Posted at 12:31 PM ET, 02/19/2011

Federal pay amendment to House spending bill fails

By Ed O'Keefe and Felicia Sonmez

An aggressive House spending plan passed early Saturday doesn't include any amendments curtailing the pay or benefits of federal employees or cutting the size of the federal workforce.

An amendment introduced by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) would have stopped federal agencies from giving pay increases to workers who take on additional responsibilities and move to a higher pay grade.

It failed early Saturday 191 to 230, with 13 lawmakers not voting. Forty-six Republicans joined 184 Democrats in voting no; 190 Republicans and one Democrat voted yes.

Other GOP proposals to trim the federal workforce by attrition and to extend President Obama's two-year pay freeze for federal workers were not offered as amendments to the spending bill.

Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

By Ed O'Keefe and Felicia Sonmez  | February 19, 2011; 12:31 PM ET
Categories:  Congress, Workplace Issues  
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Who would want to work for the government now? Most new employees in my agency are required to have a PhD in their field of expertize, or a formal law degree. It has become extremely difficult to recruit researchers, lawyers and doctors because: 1. the salaries are NOT competitive, by comparison to the private sector and academia. 2. The travails of some politicians -overwhelmingly republican- who have made a career of giving government employees a bad name to pan out to the angriest core of their consituents. The reason most people don't get paid anywhere near what some Feds make is simple: They do not have the qualifications.

Posted by: RegisUrgel | February 19, 2011 7:55 PM | Report abuse

An outrage!! Whack them all!!!!!!

Posted by: Capitalist-1 | February 19, 2011 9:56 PM | Report abuse

I have a Masters and 27 years experience which includes 22 years on AD w/the USN. I stayed w/DON as a FED after retiring from the Navy because I couldn't stop doing what I liked best and that was to make sure Sailors and Marines got everything they needed to win wars and come back home alive. This is the thanks I and many of my fellow vets and retires who did the same thing get from some of the most arrogant and morally bankrupt human beings on the planet.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | February 19, 2011 10:28 PM | Report abuse

I'll echo the comment from RegisUrgel. I was a lawyer in private practice who got tired of defending big corporations, so I took a job in the government about one year ago. I took over a 50% paycut, and the government has far worse benefits than what I had in the private sector. The hours are slightly better, but by no means do I have a 40-hour workweek. I can easily return to the private sector if I wanted, and if the Republicans continue their endless criticism of federal employees and reduce our pay, I'm not sure why I would continue to stay in the government.

Posted by: jonnydoe1234 | February 19, 2011 10:37 PM | Report abuse

To Capitalist1 who wants to wack all Feds.

Thanks from all the Vets(who keep this country safe), border patrol, FBI agents, customs agents, and the IRS(who funds everyone).

In my best year at IRS, at my current salary, I earned the government the equivalent of my salary for the next 4,800 years of service. It goes up to over 5,600 years of service at that years pay rate. In the current year, I only brought in an additional 2,100 years of my current pay. I only plan to live to 100 so I think you got what I should supply.

I will continue to go after large multinational corporate tax cheats and am sure to get another couple of thousand years worth of my salary before I retire.

Hate to tell you the Feds went to a very small pension in the early 80's with a 401K option. Not retiring in luxury unless I fund it. Also pay the SS & MC that will be bankrupt when I reach it. So please stop whining about my better then your pension which was discontinued just like yours. If you wack me, what exactly do you think you are saving? People want government service but seem to think they are free. Some government salarys are a small fraction of what they produce in revenue.

Be careful what you want to cut.

Posted by: 20plusIRS | February 20, 2011 12:53 AM | Report abuse

Time to cut Congressional pay and benefits by 25%. If they can cut programs for Americans then they should also cut their salaries and benefits.

Posted by: hsolares | February 20, 2011 8:53 AM | Report abuse

46 RINOS joined 184 Democrats in voting no

Posted by: Warof2010 | February 20, 2011 10:51 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Warof2010 | February 20, 2011 11:09 AM | Report abuse

It is so amusing that Congress and particularly this republican house can propose bills to cuts the pay of federal workers, BUT NEVER DECREASE THEIR OWN OR CUT THEIR OWN IS SO HYPOCRITICAL. They want other people to endure cuts, but NEVER THEMSELVES. They should LEAD BY EXAMPLE and stop putting everyone else on the chopping block. How would they like their duties and responsibilites increased with NO ADDITIONAL PAY. I don't think so because they enjoy all the perks of congress, including full health benefits and retirement for themselves and their spouses (and health coverage for their entire family) at our expense. Perhaps, they should be paying for some of that healthcare just like other hardworking Americans do in government and elsewhere. WHAT ABOUT IT CONGRESS -- WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO BE PAYING YOUR FAIR SHARE!!! These are just a few of the benes you and your family get to enjoy, the list is very long America.

Posted by: hotezzy | February 20, 2011 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Line up the entire federal bureaucracy, fire every 4th one, repeat as necessary. Start by cutting the Department of Education, HUD, the Agriculture Department and many others are not needed and only add regulations and bloated costs to government.
Here is a great site that the government needs to follow to cut the size of the Federal Government, it has become a monster that will be a fight to reduce in size and cost. 2012 is one of the most important elections in our last 150 years as a Nation.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | February 20, 2011 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Speaking for myself and other federal workers I know personally, we understand the reasons for a pay freeze and support the President in this decision. Most of us expect it will continue beyond the two-year period--again, not a big deal. But when the House talks about cutting the federal workforce, I suggest they need to educate themselves better about what we do and why. A quick look at the BLS Web site should suffice to understand how our pay compares to the private sector.

I don't argue that cuts can be about starting with Congress voting itself a five-year pay freeze? Even better--set "entry-level" Congressional pay at the GS-9 level and apply OPM rules afterwards. It's good enough for us and should be good enough for them.

And please, enough arguing about and fooling with the GS system, which is NOT broken. How much money was spent when alternate systems were implemented only to be abandoned later? Now THAT would be an interesting topic for discussion...I'll bet some contractors really made out on implementing these systems, then transitioning out of them.

In addition to cutting appointed positions, maybe it's time to take a good hard look at those areas that have long enjoyed special protection, such as intelligence and defense. I suspect that some well-thought-out realignment, restructuring, and honest reevaluation of long-term pet programs could yield beneficial results.

Lastly, the rude and disrespectful attitude towards federal employees that one often encounters in these comment areas has become very irritating. The majority of the rank-and-file government workers put in an honest day's work (and sometimes much more) for the pay they receive. But it seems that a lack of civility and outright boorishness is what passes for exercising the right to free speech nowadays, especially in certain circles. Those who choose this approach should think about how their words influence global perception of Americans before they express themselves in print for the world to read...or did I use too many big words that they don't understand?

Posted by: kroshka | February 21, 2011 1:55 AM | Report abuse

The government shutdown is actually a good idea if you want to infuriate 2.7 millions federal workers, and turn them against anything the Republican party is in favor of. Not only is it making federal workers the scapegoats for congress being unable to agree, but it also puts those government employees in jeopardy of defaulting on their life insurance payments and their family's health insurance payments. The effect on a state's income tax is a shortfall of 16 million spread amongst the 50 states for each day the government is shut down. Looks like a lose-lose situation perpetrated in the name of "fairness" by the republican led House.

Posted by: louinjaxcomcastnet | February 21, 2011 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Where is the line item that says before ONE federal employee takes another hit, that we the pampered and arrogant politicians shall cancel those janitorial service contractors that we pay millions to and start mopping, dusting and vacuumiung our own spaces. They did say these were tough times right? Well, maybe all of those janitorial contractors we spend millions upon millions in the federal govt on should be cancelled (except public areas and the Capitol doesnt count)and everyone start cleaning their own office spaces, clean their own toilets. How about that for the REPUBLICAN REGIME. Thats what its shaping up to be,not a party but a REGIME>

Posted by: IGotLotsToSay | February 22, 2011 5:18 AM | Report abuse

Attrition is not enough.

Cut. Now.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | February 22, 2011 1:47 PM | Report abuse

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