The U.S. House voted 261-154 to freeze the pay of government workers for a third consecutive year.
“We have to make tough choices,” said Representative Darrell Issa, a California Republican and chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. “But let’s remember these are civil servants who are paid pretty darn well.”
The bill would block a 0.5 percent raise scheduled to take effect in April, overturning a Dec. 27 executive order from President Barack Obama.
Republican Frank Wolf, whose northern Virginia district includes the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency, yelled on the House floor that the bill would target agents who tracked Osama bin Laden, astronauts, border patrol agents, cancer researchers and Veterans Affairs hospital nurses treating wounded soldiers returning from Afghanistan.
“I recognize the good intentions of what the gentleman is trying to do,” Wolf said of Issa, who led the debate. “It’s not justice, it’s not fair and I urge a no vote.”
The pay freeze wouldn’t apply to military personnel. Lawmakers already froze their own pay through Sept. 30. The bill now goes to the Senate, where its outcome is uncertain.
The White House opposes the bill, H.R. 273.
To contact the reporter on this story: Derek Wallbank in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Katherine Rizzo at firstname.lastname@example.org