Feds Speak Out on Congress's Belt-Tightening Plans

Friday - 11/5/2010, 4:00am EDT

It is very likely that the lame duck Congress, perhaps with the backing of the White House, will send the nation a belt-tightening message. Starting with your belt.

The message could come in the form of a pay freeze, furloughs, limited hiring or a combination thereof. That, if it happens, would also probably include a symbolic congressional pay cut. Taking 10 percent off the top shouldn't hurt many representatives or senators who routinely spend millions of dollars (often from their own personal wealth) to get a job paying $174,000 a year.

When it comes to sacrifices, members of Congress have a choice. The sacrificial lambs don't. So what do feds think?

  • "I am proud and honored to be a federal government employee and a military veteran. Both my mother (HUD) and father ( Labor and Interior) were feds as well. I have a brother with Defense in St. Louis. I am not overpaid by any stretch of the imagination but at the same time I think I am paid fairly. And I work for it. But there comes a time and I think this is that time. I am ready, able and willing to do whatever it takes to help us get back on solid financial ground. If taking a pay freeze helps I'll do it. Same for furloughs. All I would ask is that our elected officials think this through carefully, in a nonpartisan manner (if that is still possible in this climate) and also make some sacrifices." -- Marc (career fed)

  • "Why cant furloughs be limited to the higher grades (GS-11)...because they already reside in their ivory towers and are immune from the stresses of low finances. Just let the lower grades (GS-9 and below) continue to come to work so that we can make ends meet." -- Audrey (Army)

  • "Congress can do anything it wants, correct? Isn't that why they call them lawmakers? So if they do make the law and do decide to furlough federal workers, I have a suggestion. Make it voluntary! My guess is that a lot of people would jump at the chance for extra time off even if they weren't paid for it. A couple of 3-day or 4-day long weekends for those who want it and can afford it would be a treat. And it could provide a baby-step economic jump in some areas if people decided to shop and have fun or go away for an unplanned long weekend."

  • "I know that in the private sector many employees given the option of seniority-based layoffs of younger workers or voluntary furloughs for everybody have opted for the latter. Giving federal government workers the option of a furlough could save a lot of money without hurting people who live paycheck to paycheck." -- Nick (Bethesda)

  • "Above all else, I would like a pay raise (because of high-3 for retirement) even though 10 furlough days would put less money in my pocket!" -- Cathy

  • "I'm a non-union employee in a highly-unionized (non-postal) agency. I do not belong to the union not because I'm too busy, too cheap, or afraid of the union. It's because I strongly disagree with their 'what's in it for me' liberal philosophy and their politics of division. I did not ask for their representation nor do I want it. The taxpayer be damned. What's best for the country is a long forgotten afterthought." -- L.T.

  • "As to the possibility of furloughs I think you might be right. The CR ends on Nov 30th. We may be in for a couple of days off if the Republicans want to throw their weight around and not pass a budget.

  • "I don't know. Sometimes in the long run it is better when Congress is gridlocked and nothing gets done. It would be better than all the money they spent this year." -- Linda (Montana)

  • "Nobody wants to have their pay frozen or be furloughed without pay. On the other hand, my brother was furloughed for a week (5 days in a row) last year. This followed a 5 percent pay cut which members of his union agreed to take to keep the company afloat. My son has been downgraded to working 4 days a week. If they put him on part-time (3 days or less per week) he will lose his health benefits. Given what is going on in the country I think we, federal workers, had better brace for a dose of reality. I am still delighted to serve my country and happy I have a steady job and lifetime retirement benefits when the day comes." Ed (Virginia Beach)
To reach me: mcausey@federalnewsradio.com
Nearly Useless Factoid
by Suzanne Kubota