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To Extend The Pay Limitation For Members Of Congress And Federal Employees

Rep. Robert J. Wittman

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Madam Speaker, I don't think there is anyone in this country who supports increasing pay for Members of Congress. I certainly don't, which is why I voted in favor of H.R. 3835 on Wednesday. Throughout my tenure in this body, I have continually voted to cut, freeze, and otherwise limit pay for Members. With so many folks across Virginia's First District and the nation struggling to feed their families or find a job, Congress has got to lead by example and show that it is serious about tackling this country's economic woes in a responsible manner.

An important part of being responsible, however, is the ability to be fair, and I fear that H.R. 3835 sets an unfair precedent by targeting a particular group of public servants who are already tasked to do so much for their country: federal employees. Government workers have been under a pay freeze since December of 2010, and this legislation would extend that freeze through 2013. These hardworking patriots serve our nation on a daily basis, whether it be keeping our skies safe for travelers with the FAA or supporting our troops on the front lines of the war on terror with the CIA. From the lowest GS-1 to the highest GS-15, the federal workforce is full of dedicated and committed citizens who exemplify patriotism in everything they do. There is no question that changing the unsustainable trajectory of this nation will take sacrifice from us all, but continually singling out federal employees is an ineffective and unjustified response to the nation's fiscal struggles.

Although I have serious concerns with the federal employee pay freeze, I ultimately voted for this legislation because Congress must lead by example and freeze our own pay first. I would like to remind my colleagues that long after we are all gone, federal employees will continue to selflessly serve this nation, as they have since its inception. Repeatedly singling them out is no way to thank them for their dedicated contributions. I am hopeful that future deficit reduction efforts in this body will focus on more realistic methods of savings that truly address the drivers of our debt so that we can foster an environment of job creation and prosperity in this country.