Shows & Panels
- The 2014 Big Picture on Cyber Security
- AFCEA Answers
- Ask the CIO
- Building the Hybrid Cloud
- Connected Government: How to Build and Procure Network Services for the Future
- Continuing Diagnostics and Mitigation: Discussion of Progress and Next Steps
- Federal Executive Forum
- Federal Tech Talk
- The Future of Government Data Centers
- The Future of IT: How CIOs Can Enable the Service-Oriented Enterprise
- The Intersection: Where Technology Meets Transformation
- Maximizing ROI Through Data Center Consolidation
- Mitigating Insider Threats in Virtual & Cloud Environments
- Modern Mission Critical Series
- Moving to the Cloud. What's the best approach for me
- Navigating Tough Choices in Government Cloud Computing
- The New Generation of Database
- Satellite Communications: Acquiring SATCOM in Tight Times
- Targeting Advanced Threats: Proven Methods from Detection through Remediation
- Transformative Technology: Desktop Virtualization in Government
- The Truth About IT Opex and Software Defined Networking
- Value of Health IT
- Air Traffic Management Transformation Report
- Cloud First Report
- General Dynamics IT Enterprise Center
- Gov Cloud Minute
- Government in Technology Series
- Homeland Security Cybersecurity Market Report
- National Cybersecurity Awareness Month
- Technology Insights
- The Cyber Security Report
- The Next Generation Cyber Security Experts
Shows & Panels
Senate blocks federal pay freeze extension a second time
Thursday - 12/8/2011, 9:20pm EST
Federal News Radio
Senate Democrats blocked a GOP-backed bill for the second time that would freeze federal pay for three more years in order to offset an extension of the payroll tax cut. The Democrats' own plan to pay for the extension with a surtax on the income of millionaires was also voted down.
Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), introduced the Temporary Tax Holiday and Government Reduction Act last week.
Heller's proposal, which was voted down the first time only a few days after it was introduced, would have extended the federal pay freeze for three additional years — federal employees are now in the middle of an administration-backed two-year freeze — and cut the federal workforce by 10 percent through attrition.
The extended pay freeze drew the ire of federal-employee unions, who lobbied lawmakers ahead of the most recent vote.
The National Treasury Employees Union issued letters to every member of the Senate, according to an NTEU release, and the union's president Colleen Kelley called the proposal "ill-advised" and said it unfairly targeted federal employees.
Kelley said that the current pay freeze will already leave a $60 billion dent over 10 years in the federal deficit and that many older federal workers don't even qualify for the payroll tax cut because they pay into a different pension system.
"It is outrageous to propose paying for a tax cut for middle-class workers by singling out a small group of working Americans-federal employees — while continuing to shield the wealthiest from bearing even a small sacrifice," she said in a statement.
For his part, Heller, the author of the pay-freeze legislation, lamented the fact that Congress couldn't come together on what he called "a workable solution."
"Moving forward, I hope Congress can find a way to extend this payroll tax cut to help hard-working Americans," he stated in a release.
The Senate vote on the pay freeze measure was 76-22 — not that far removed from the 78-20 outcome, last week. The Associated Press reported there was little suspense about the bill's fate because, given the partisan divide in Congress, any plan will require the unlikely scenario of a filibuster-proof 60 votes to advance.
The House is set to vote on its version of a payroll tax cut extension — which has become the latest example of congressional gridlock — next week.
President Barack Obama has threatened to delay Congress' holiday vacation in order to get a deal on extending it.