A bipartisan group of lawmakers -- all representing areas heavily populated by federal employees -- has a message for President Obama and colleagues in Congress: Leave the federal workforce alone.
The nine House members, all representing districts in Washington, D.C., Maryland, or Virginia, said that federal employees have “paid their fair share” toward reducing the deficit and that any deal to avert the fiscal cliff should not further target the group.
“We respectfully request that you carefully consider the implications that any proposed agreement would have on these Americans so that it reflects the substantial budget savings that the federal workforce has contributed thus far,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter.
They pointed to $103 billion in budget savings derived from the federal workforce -- $88 billion from a pay freeze that started in 2011 and is scheduled to continue through March and $15 billion from raising the retirement pension contribution rate for new hires -- as evidence that these workers already have been disproportionally targeted in trimming budgets.
Reps. Jim Moran, D-Va.; Steny Hoyer, D-Md.; Frank R. Wolf, R-Va.; Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.; Gerald E. Connolly, D-Va.; Robert J. Wittman, R-Va.; Donna F. Edwards, D-Md.; John P. Sarbanes, D-Md.; and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., signed the letter.
Top Democratic lawmakers on committees related to the federal workforce told Government Executive last week that they also would like to leave federal employee benefits out of any potential debt deal. In addition, federal unions have expressed their desire that Congress keep their members’ pay and benefits out of the deal.