Analysis: Federal pay freeze vote to put pressure on payroll tax extension talks

Wednesday - 2/1/2012, 11:09am EST

Pete Kasperowicz, reporter, The Hill newspaper

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Today's House vote on another year of the federal pay freeze is significant in that it sends a message to a conference meeting on the payroll tax cut extension.

"This is not the thing to be looking at," said Pete Kasperowicz, a reporter with The Hill newspaper, referring to the vote on H.R. 3835. "What [House Republicans] are trying to do is build pressure on that conference to agree to the pay freeze."

Last year, Congress agreed to a two-month extension of the payroll tax holiday. That extension expires at the end of this month.

In a bill to extend the holiday for a full year, the House had voted for an additional year of the federal pay freeze, as well as increased contributions to federal retirement benefits.

The bill the House is taking up today also includes freezing pay for members of Congress.

In an interview with The Federal Drive with Tom Temin, Kasperowicz said today's vote is "a little bit of gamesmanship."

The House will vote on the bill using a suspension vote, requiring a two-thirds majority to pass, he added.

Kasperowicz said he sees a division within the Republican Party — particularly between long-term lawmakers and the new-comers, who came into office because they are "essentially at war fiscally with the federal government and all things federal, the workers, what are they paid, what are their benefits."

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