Federal employees have had their pay frozen since 2011. Congress has also increased federal employee pension contributions for new hires without a corresponding increase in benefits.
All told, over the last four years, Congress has reduced federal employee pay and benefits by $114 billion. Per capita, that’s nearly $50,000 per employee – far more than any other American has been asked to contribute so far towards deficit reduction. It’s a greater sacrifice than any other group has been asked to make.
This summer, as a result of the sequester, we furloughed more than 800,000 federal employees, further impacting their pay. Even more were affected this October when Tea Party extremists in the Republican caucus shut down the government for over two weeks, holding our federal workforce hostage while families were faced with rent and mortgage payments.
After all they faced in past four years, federal workers are again seeing cuts to their pay and benefits brought to the negotiating table. Not content with the damage they’ve wrought, House Republicans are insisting on an approach that would require employees to contribute more toward benefits than the already increased level proposed by the Administration.
Going even further, some Republicans have proposed to eliminate the Federal Employee Retirement System Annuity Supplement. This draconian scheme would amount to a $20 billion hit to federal workers over the next decade. Not only is this an unfair, mean-spirited attack on our federal workers’ retirement savings, it will impact the quality of talent attracted to jobs serving the American people for years to come.
Despite getting little credit and a lot of financial squeezing, civil servants continue to make our country run more effectively and efficiently than any other in the world. They maintain and secure our borders, staff our National Parks, facilitate Social Security payments, care for our wounded veterans, cure diseases at NIH, and defend our national security through the FBI, CIA and Department of Defense.
Our federal workers have done what’s been asked of them. Shouldering the debt reduction burden alone has directly impacted their families more than any other Americans. It’s time to stop singling them out in this budget debate and show at least a little bit of thanks for the jobs they ably do everyday.