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Frank, Are You Kidding Me?

By Greg L | 30 May 2010 | US Congress | 25 Comments

This week the House of Representatives voted to increase the pay of federal employees, nearly 20% of whom already make over $100,000 a year.  Among those voting in favor of this increase was our own Rep. Frank Wolf, who broke with House Minority Whip Eric Cantor and joined with Gerry Connolly.  I tend to like a lot of what Frank Wolf does, but this one defies easy explanation.

As Eric Cantor points out, we had an opportunity here to reduce out out-of-control federal spending.  With a solid Democrat majority being inexplicably joined by a few Republicans, that opportunity has been missed.

As part of his FY 2011 Budget submission President proposed raising federal civilian pay by 1.4% beginning in January of next year. This will be on top of the 2.0% raise federal civilian employees received this past January, the 3.9% raise they received the previous January, and the 3.5% raise they received the January before that. Freezing federal civilian pay at the current level for one year would save approximately $2 billion next year and $30 billion over ten years. 

I imagine not many of you out there have been watching your household income rise as has been the case with federal employees.  I can understand not wanting to stop pay increases for those wearing a uniform, but given the current economic situation adding more federal employees to the rolls of the six-figure-plus club doesn’t make sense.

Frank might want to take a stab at explaining this vote before someone else forces him to do so at a time not of his choosing.

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  1. Big Dog said on 30 May 2010 at 1:02 pm:
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    Simple: Frank Wolf’s district is loaded with federal employees
    and their families. He is going to vote for their interest.

  2. Forgotten Man said on 30 May 2010 at 1:30 pm:
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    How about a pay raise for the federal law enforcement community many of which do wear a uniform?

  3. NoVA Scout said on 30 May 2010 at 2:40 pm:
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    This doesn’t “defy” easy explanation. It invites easy explanation.

  4. JM said on 30 May 2010 at 4:17 pm:
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    I’m a federal employee. Wolf has my vote!

  5. enough is enough said on 30 May 2010 at 4:31 pm:
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    How about a pay raise for the federal law enforcement community many of which do wear a uniform?

    No, how about a jail cell for most of them who blatantly break the law.

    You know, like the pukes who race down the HOV lanes in the never ending fleet of federal crown vics.

    We have all seen them. Why do we tolerate them?

  6. WoodbridgeVA said on 30 May 2010 at 4:47 pm:
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    As a current federal emoloyee who also happens to be a budget analyst; my feeling is we really do not need a raise right now. First, most feds qualify for an ingrade step increase every 12 to 36 months. Second, those of us who work hard and do a decent job (the vast majority) can earn up to 3 percent in bonuses and move up in grade reasonably quickly. Third, most agencies are facing budget cuts in the next few years and would have to eat the cost of a raise out of their program activities. I would rather see Congress forego providing an across the board raise this year and encourage feds to increase their income by doing the type of work that qualifies for bonuses and promotions. Better yet, freeze salaries for five years and use 3/4 of the savings for debt reduction and 1/4 for a larger bonus pool.

  7. Disgusted said on 30 May 2010 at 5:53 pm:
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    Cheap shot!! I’m surprised “non-essential government employee” didn’t enter the thread like it always does when you all take a swipe at federal employees. Technical employees (engineers, lawyers, scientists) usually work BELOW industry standards for pay in their fields. We serve the federal government because we are honored to serve our country and our fellow citizens. We buy our own supplies, get no perks because of conflict of interest laws, are unable to fully participate in partisan elections because of the Hatch Act restrictions, usually sit at Unicor desks in hand-me-down chairs in a cubicle crush, and still we get crap from pea-brains like you. Go ahead and hire Boeing employee and let him evaluate multi-million dollar contracts his company has an interest in. See what a quality product you’ll get. You all are too ignorant for words…and jealous of what few benefits we get. Stick it!!

  8. Ron said on 30 May 2010 at 6:50 pm:
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    The Federal employees were crowing about stopping any pay freezes in Congress. I’m sure you can find such press releases at the AFGE or NTEU web sites.

    So did anyone call Wolf’s office and ask directly about the vote?

  9. red, white and blue said on 30 May 2010 at 7:39 pm:
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    Businesses are suffering of late. Employees ahve been laid off or jobs have just vanished. Places who had 10 employees may now only have 5 or 6. Unemployment is at 10% plus those who are no longer receiving unemployment compensation; reported by the Wall Street Journal to be closer to 18% total.

    One of the responders to this story above claims to be a federal employee who says that Wolf “Has his vote” while another shows the inside workings of federal pay systems which provide ample opportunity to continuously get or increase pay raises. Those “step” increases are really nice. You get it no matter what.

    It simply is not very smart to give pay raises in the face of private sector unemployment as well as unemployment in the state and local sectors when government has been a big factor in the present economic environment, especially with over regulation, rules, laws and crazy, insane spending like no tomorrow (but tomorrow WILL come). No one asked the federal employees to give up the pay they get, the raises that are automatic or available. Yet, the federal employee is really not affected by the current economy but this blog has revealed that some federal employees really don’t care. As a former federal employee, I think it is unfair to and really unethical to give such raises in the face of the economic situation which is not improving and the spending spree with no end which I do not blame democrat or republican - I blame BOTH.

    One blog complained of not getting enough money because they were not on the GS scale. Well, you can always quit if the private sector pays more such as was suggested. Welcome to our world were reality is not so pretty.

    Not all companies are in the bad shape but it is clear the economy is not that good for many employees. So Wolf played to the federal employee as was noted just like Pelosi plays to a part of her crowd. But it is this best for the country and our economy?

  10. Tom Andrews said on 30 May 2010 at 8:18 pm:
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    As someone who belongs to the Federal six figure plus crowd, I dont disagree that a pay raise at this time may be unadvisable from a fiscal perspective, it must be noted that from the original thread’s own computations that over 80% of federal employees are not near that salary range. As for Rep. Wolf, you have to represent the interests of large portions of constituents in your district (from a political standpoint as myopic as it may be) so it’s not surprising.

  11. Disgusted said on 30 May 2010 at 8:19 pm:
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    Okay, Red, White & Blue, let’s follow your logic. Feds don’t get a pay raise when the economy tanks. Maybe should even reduce their pay. What happens when the economy soars? Ready to pay us our fair share then? Nope! Then we hear how serving in the government is a noble sacrifice and we should willingly deny ourselves the same gains as is found in private industry. The MOST I got during any boom time in the last 25 years was 4.5%. What did you get, including bonuses and stock options? What a load of self serving crap!

  12. Government Employee said on 30 May 2010 at 9:10 pm:
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    Government Workers deserve to be compensated for the hard work and sacrifices (e.g., low pay) they make for out country. God bless Frank Wold for recognizing this.

    Everyone should lighten up because the economy is recovering.

    Anyone who cannot find work is just a loser and deserves our contempt.

  13. PWCOvertaxed said on 30 May 2010 at 9:33 pm:
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    There are plenty of local and state govt employees who do NOT get pay raises or cost of living raises because those govts. have to balance a budget…they cant print money. Federal employees should do their part and take a pay freeze as well for the better of our deep in debt country….

  14. Tillie said on 30 May 2010 at 9:37 pm:
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    My husband spent his whole career in Gov. employ. Our family sure didn’t feel that we made any “sacrifices for our country”. On the contrary, we got our pay every other week, we had health insurance, paid vacations and an annuity that’s plenty for retirement living, because we made enough to make investments while employed.

    I don’t know what Government Employee does that might be considered “sacrifice”.

  15. Greg L said on 30 May 2010 at 10:23 pm:
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    “Anyone who cannot find work is just a loser and deserves our contempt.”

    This has got to be someone trolling. I can’t imagine anyone being so heartless… not even a liberal.

  16. Anonymous said on 31 May 2010 at 12:11 am:
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    Tillie said on 30 May 2010 at 9:37 pm: Flag comment

    Apparently you never had your a$$ sent to a third world country for a two year tour of duty where health conditions at best were primitive and a local economy barely existed. Also, take into account the fact that due to the local crime rate and the threat of terrorism, one is severely restricted in their movements. Sit back on your fat a$$ and have another Carona while someone else puts their life on the line to keep you happy.

  17. Disgusted said on 31 May 2010 at 7:33 am:
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    Greg - Well said. Unemployment comes for many reasons, not just a slacker getting what they deserve. A project completed and on time, under budget, with no options or follow ups is just one reason people are let go.

    Tillie - Go & see what your husband could have earned in the private sector.

    Anonymous - With all due respect, you chose your line of work. You weren’t drafted. If you didn’t like the conditions, you should have left the service. There are lots of ways to serve the country that don’t involve being in combat or overseas. You deserve our thanks and respect, but show a little respect yourself.

  18. Brian Leeper said on 31 May 2010 at 10:22 am:
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    Just in case anyone missed this headline:

    “HP earnings dip nearly 10%, will cut salaries”

  19. Brian Leeper said on 31 May 2010 at 10:24 am:
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    Also, HP does not give raises, they give bonuses instead. The problem with a raise is that it commits you to continue paying the increased salary for that employee for as long as they are there (although HP is not afraid to cut salaries), whereas a bonus is one-time.

  20. Anonymous said on 31 May 2010 at 1:40 pm:
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    Disgusted said on 31 May 2010 at 7:33 am: Flag comment
    Anonymous - With all due respect, you chose your line of work. You weren’t drafted. If you didn’t like the conditions, you should have left the service. There are lots of ways to serve the country that don’t involve being in combat or overseas. You deserve our thanks and respect, but show a little respect yourself.

    You are correct. I did choose my line of work. I spent 30 years in the Foreign Service (U.S. State Department) and I had few choices of of where I was assigned. Only one 4 year tour was NOT in a third world country.

  21. no raise here said on 31 May 2010 at 2:09 pm:
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    so who is in the wings to replace Frank, he has been around a bit too long and I think it is time for some blood . . .

  22. no raise here said on 31 May 2010 at 2:10 pm:
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    new blood that is, I am not a violent person!

  23. PWCtaxpayer said on 2 Jun 2010 at 3:32 pm:
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    Raises - hell wait until the insourcing effort really starts - where contract employees will have to become Federal employees because their work is being insourced or federalized — permenently Worse, when the talk was about outsourcing and contracting out, the decision was based on a FAR based procurement competition and all the data was public - there will be no competitions and none of the back-up data to the decision is public under insourcing - thanks to guys like Wolf. The sallary increases are nothing compared to the new full salaries and benefits requirements - 30,000 in DoD alone and over 200,000 new /additional feds by 2011.

  24. PWConservative said on 5 Jun 2010 at 12:12 pm:
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    People like Wolf will behave like this until we take away their power to do so, he is playing the rent seeking game.

  25. zuzu said on 5 Jun 2010 at 9:59 pm:
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    Those of us who work for local govt. keeping the water running, the toilets flushing and the streets clear haven’t had a raise in 3 years!!
    In fact, we’ve been asked to shoulder more work without any additional money and we dont’ have NEARLY the benefits or percs that our “Federal” brethren” enjoy . :(

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