CONGRESSIONAL PAY FREEZE AND FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY ACT; Congressional Record Vol. 158, No. 172
(House of Representatives - January 01, 2013)

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[Pages H7521-H7527]
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         CONGRESSIONAL PAY FREEZE AND FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY ACT

  Mr. ISSA. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill 
(H.R. 6726) to prevent the 2013 pay adjustment for Members of Congress 
and persons holding other offices or positions in the Federal 
Government from being made.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The text of the bill is as follows:

                               H.R. 6726

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``Congressional Pay Freeze and 
     Fiscal Responsibility Act''.

     SEC. 2. ELIMINATION OF 2013 PAY ADJUSTMENT.

       (a) In General.--Section 147 of the Continuing 
     Appropriations Act, 2011, as amended by section 114(a) of the 
     Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2013 (Public Law 112-
     175; 5 U.S.C. 5303 note), is amended--
       (1) in subsection (b)(1), by striking the matter after 
     ``ending on'' and before ``shall be made'' and inserting 
     ``December 31, 2013,''; and
       (2) in subsection (c), by striking the matter after 
     ``ending on'' and before ``no senior executive'' and 
     inserting ``December 31, 2013,''.
       (b) Elimination of Delayed Adjustment.--Section 114(b) of 
     the Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2013 is repealed.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from 
California (Mr. Issa) and the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Connolly) 
each will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from California.


                             General Leave

  Mr. ISSA. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may 
have 5 legislative days within which to revise and extend their remarks 
and include extraneous materials on the bill under consideration.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from California?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. ISSA. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, for the last 2 years, Oversight has worked diligently. 
Our professionals have worked, to a certain extent, against their own 
best interest. They've found excesses in pay and compensation within 
the Federal system and moved with careful detail to try to reduce those 
amounts, make them more commensurate with the private sector. 
Currently, Federal workers receive typically over $100,000 and are 
about 16 percent higher compensated than their private sector 
counterparts.
  Today we will consider something on the fiscal cliff, but before we 
do it, I felt it was important to deal first with this bill. And so I'm 
happy, in a few

[[Page H7522]]

moments, to recognize Mr. Fitzpatrick, the author of this bill, which 
is very narrow, but simply says that the President cannot and should 
not add about $11 billion to the deficit by the stroke of a pen, by an 
executive order at a time in which he's negotiating to try to raise 
taxes to earn maybe another $60 billion or $70 billion, at most, for 
the Federal Treasury.
  So this will stop the Federal workers from receiving a pay increase. 
It will not stop their step increases. It will not stop their merit 
increases. It will not stop a great many other increases in their pay 
and compensation. But it will say that, at this time, when the American 
people are not getting automatic cost-of-living increases, neither 
should the Federal workforce.
  And oh, by the way, Mr. Speaker, neither should you, neither should 
the ranking member, neither should I. And this bill stops us from 
giving ourselves a pay increase that the President has asked for.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. CONNOLLY of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, in order to allow the author 
of the bill to speak, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. ISSA. I yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman from 
Pennsylvania (Mr. Fitzpatrick).
  Mr. FITZPATRICK. Mr. Speaker, the American people do not get an 
automatic pay increase, and neither should Members of Congress.
  My bill, the Congressional Pay Freeze and Fiscal Responsibility Act, 
gives us the chance to show the American people that, at least in this 
regard, that we do get it: freeze salaries now, including for Members 
of Congress, at current levels.
  Mr. Speaker, there are too few opportunities in this town where 
issues can bring us together. The President has done that for us this 
week. Unbelievably, in the middle of talks this week on tax rates and 
sequestration revision, in the midst of high deficits and a growing 
national debt, the President has proposed pay increases for Members of 
Congress, and has done so by executive order dated December 28.
  I have to say that nobody in this town saw this coming, and very few 
think it is warranted. The Congress has not produced a budget in 3 
years because the Senate refuses to do their job. The last thing they 
need is a pay increase. In fact, the No Budget, No Pay Act should be 
the law of this land. If you don't produce a budget within the 
prescribed period of time, you should not get paid. And if you a 
produce a budget after the proscribed period of time, you should not 
get paid retroactively.
  Mr. Speaker, this is common sense, but common sense just isn't too 
common in this city, and there's no sense at all in the President's 
executive order to increase pay at this time--not now, not under these 
circumstances, and not in this economy. It is an action taken 
unilaterally by the President, which has earned an immediate and almost 
universal scorn, as well it should.
  As we close out 2012, there are still too many issues unresolved. 
There are too few instances of accomplishments or results. Our economy 
is still at risk, and the American people are still struggling. 
American workers have given all they can. Have we? Have we given all 
that we can?
  I'm glad to see that so many in this Chamber have cosponsored this 
measure. And in the past 24 hours, I've seen comments from Democrats 
and Republicans expressing outrage at the President's unilateral 
executive order. A Democrat in the Senate called it the worst idea 
ever. A Democrat in this House has called it inappropriate.
  So, extend the pay freeze for all Federal workers, including elected 
officials. This bipartisan policy was originally put in place by our 
Democrat colleagues because they recognized that the pain being felt 
across our economy could not be reserved for the private sector.
  Federal workers in my district and across the country are hardworking 
individuals. They deserve fair compensation too. Mr. Speaker, we're not 
trying to punish or force unnecessary hardship on civil servants, but 
taxpayers should not be taking home less than Federal workers.
  Recent studies have shown that the average Federal worker earns 20 
percent more than a private worker in a similar position. This 
disparity is even wider when benefits are taken into account. We have 
to recognize that over recent years there's been a growing disparity 
between the compensation for Federal workers and their counterparts in 
the private sector, and, quite frankly, that sends exactly the wrong 
message at exactly the wrong time.
  The President's own Debt Commission, which has thus far been ignored 
by the President, recommended a 3-year pay freeze for Federal 
Government workers. If it would have been adopted at that time, that 
pay freeze would have lasted through 2013, the same period of time that 
this bill proposes.
  Of course, we all agree that the men and women of our Nation's 
military deserve a pay increase while our Nation is at war. This bill 
provides that members of the Armed Forces will continue to be eligible 
for the pay increases that have been supported by me and a strong 
bipartisan majority of my colleagues.
  Mr. Speaker, we hear a lot of talk from some of our colleagues about 
shared sacrifice. Higher taxes from ObamaCare are coming, and tax rates 
for certain businesses and individuals are going to go up. The private 
sector and small businesses are being asked to sacrifice.
  What kind of a message does it send if, at the same time, Members of 
Congress, the administration, and the Federal Government get a pay 
raise? That is exactly the wrong message at exactly the wrong time.
  I urge my colleagues to support this bill and to send the American 
people the strong message that the public sector and elected officials 
do not consider themselves exempt from the economic realities of our 
time.
  Mr. CONNOLLY of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I 
may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to this bill, H.R. 6726, 
which seeks to extend the pay freeze on the dedicated men and women of 
our civil service for the third consecutive year.

                              {time}  1240

  This is a pig in a poke.
  From the outset, let me be clear. I strongly support freezing the 
salaries of Members of Congress. I've signed a letter to do that. And 
if this bill did only that, I would be an original cosponsor. But it 
doesn't. The Senate last night did just that. It froze our salaries. 
But it didn't do this. It didn't extend that freeze for a third year to 
the men and women who serve our country in Federal service.
  The bill before us today, which cynically pairs a pay freeze for us 
in Congress with a continuation of the pay freeze on career civil 
servants, is yet another tired, duplicative, and cheap shot at our 
Nation's dedicated Federal workforce. It's one last parting shot in the 
dying days of this Congress, which cannot die too soon.
  If Members of Congress and the public simply take a look at the 
scoreboard, they'll see that, with respect to the deficit reduction, 
Federal workers not only have borne a disproportionate share of the 
cost, they've virtually borne the only share of the cost. Federal 
employees have contributed already $103 billion toward deficit 
reduction through an extended pay freeze that continues to this day--
and benefit cuts.
  For example, Federal workers have contributed $60 billion towards 
deficit reduction as a result of the 2-year pay freeze covering 2011 
and 2012. The recent pay freeze extension through March of this year 
adds another $28 billion. This total also includes the $15 billion 
contribution that will be made by Federal new hires who, starting next 
year, will see their pay decrease by 2.3 percent as contributions to 
their pensions are raised compared to current civil servants, with no 
commensurate increase in benefits. Meanwhile, this inequity is 
amplified when one compares the financial sacrifice made by our 
dedicated civil service to the deficit reduction contributions made by 
millionaires and billionaires over the past 2 years.
  I might add, as if it weren't enough, my friends on the Republican 
side of the aisle actually tried for the first time to finance transit 
in America--in a transportation bill that died an ignominious and well-
deserved death--$50 billion by having these same pension benefit cuts 
on existing civil servants, which would have added $50 billion

[[Page H7523]]

more to the deficit reduction cost only apportioned to Federal workers. 
Meanwhile, if I'm not mistaken, compared to the $103 billion deficit 
reduction contribution by Federal employees, the deficit reduction 
sacrifices--that shared sacrifice my friend from Pennsylvania referred 
to--has demanded of millionaires and billionaires adds up to a grand 
total of zero. Yet, despite these facts, there are still some 
attempting to squeeze even more deficit reduction out of Federal 
workers, even as they seek to protect the millionaires and billionaires 
who have yet to make any contribution to debt reduction in this 
country.
  Republicans in the 112th Congress have treated Federal employees like 
America's piggybank, dipping into pay and benefits to help pay for 
everything from the payroll tax cut to unemployment benefits to transit 
in the transportation bill.
  Federal employees are on the front line of communities throughout 
America. They defend America. They serve side-by-side with our military 
in theaters of war. They put out fires. They process Social Security 
checks. They deal with the sick and they deal with our children. They 
protect our borders. I strongly oppose any attempt to cut benefits and 
wages that Federal employees have earned by providing essential 
services to all Americans.
  Given the very small share of the Federal budget represented by 
Federal employees' salaries, further reducing their pay and benefits is 
not rational and not an effective way to reduce our Nation's debt. It's 
picking on them.
  I urge my colleagues to vote against this bill, and I reserve the 
balance of my time.
  Mr. ISSA. Mr. Speaker, I would trust that the gentleman was unaware 
that Mr. Fitzpatrick also does have a bill that only freezes our pay, 
and it does not bear the gentleman's name as a cosponsor. Perhaps he 
can correct that today.
  I yield 4 minutes to the gentlelady from Minnesota (Mrs. Bachmann).
  Mrs. BACHMANN. I thank the gentleman from California. I thank Mr. 
Fitzpatrick for his bill as well.
  I, too, was shocked when I saw that the President of the United 
States, out of nowhere, at no request from any Member of Congress, had 
issued a unilateral executive order, which means he decided to take the 
law into his own hands and, in effect, become his own Congress and 
decide unilaterally, at the height of the fiscal cliff debate, that he 
would throw a new wrench into that argument, and it would be this:
  When there is massive uncertainty, unfinished business, he would 
decide that he would unilaterally give a pay increase to the United 
States Congress exactly when the public is uncertain and doesn't know 
what is going to happen. Will their taxes go up? Will they no longer be 
the recipient of a spending program?
  And so now Congress is going to get a spending increase?
  This was a cynical planned move, Mr. Speaker, on the part of our 
President. He brought great drama to this effort, unnecessary drama. 
Because, you see, this House of Representatives already did this job to 
avert the fiscal cliff. We did this work. It was completed last August. 
We said that no one's taxes need to go up, and we were able to offset 
any spending cuts. The work was done. The problem is the Senate never 
took up the completed work of the House, and the President of the 
United States spent the last half of this year continually castigating 
the House of Representatives for not having this work done when we did 
our work.
  And so out of nowhere, again, not at the request of Congress, the 
President decided to make a very unlovely party to this conversation--
the Congress--even less palatable by putting upon us the idea that we 
wanted to raise our own salary when we had nothing whatsoever to do 
with that. That's why over the weekend I directed my staff that we 
would put forth a bill to take away this unilateral increase in salary 
for Congress at the President's hand. We put our bill together. Mr. 
Fitzpatrick put his bill together. We both introduced bills yesterday.
  And I'm very happy to be a part of this bill, as every Member of 
Congress is happy to be for this bill, because, after all, this had 
nothing to do with the conversations. This was a cynical effort on the 
part of the President--and I believe nothing more cynical than the fact 
that the current agreement with the fiscal cliff was agreed to, we're 
told, somewhere around 11:30 last night. The bill was voted on at 2:00 
in the morning. Again, this is New Year's Eve. I don't know how many 
Senators between midnight and 2 a.m. in the morning had a chance to 
thoroughly read this agreement that's 157 pages long.
  You see, this is not how we should run our government. This is drama, 
unnecessary drama. And President Obama bears the responsibility for his 
failure to lead and his intentional effort, it appears, to mislead the 
American public with this cynical bill. That's why we are here this 
morning, to clarify the President's action. This was not at our behest, 
and we are rejecting this measure today to increase Congress's salary.
  Mr. CONNOLLY of Virginia. I must say I appreciate the gentlelady's 
points about cynicism. But Federal workers and the American public 
might be forgiven for thinking that it is cynical to be decrying a 
last-minute deal necessitated by the fact that the House has been out 
for 15 of the last 19 weeks in recess instead of doing its business 
here on the House floor, which is why we're here today.
  By the way, I also want to appreciate, because I know it wasn't a 
cheap shot, and I know that the distinguished chairman of the committee 
was trying to inform me of the fact that a bill I was not aware of was 
introduced yesterday. If there is a clean bill introduced by my friends 
from Minnesota and Pennsylvania simply to freeze congressional 
salaries, I'm only too happy to cosponsor it. I know that will reassure 
my friend, the chairman of the committee.
  I now yield such time as he may consume to the distinguished ranking 
member of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the gentleman 
from Maryland (Mr. Cummings).
  Mr. CUMMINGS. I want to thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to H.R. 6726, which would 
extend the pay freeze on Federal employees through the end of 2013 and 
eliminate the pay adjustment for Members of Congress.
  I think we need to be very careful in this discussion. As my 
distinguished colleague from Virginia just stated, I don't think 
there's any Member of Congress that is against freezing the pay of 
Members of Congress. If I had known about the bill, I would have 
cosponsored it. I don't know when it was filed, but I would have 
cosponsored it, as he said he would have also. But this is a different 
issue.

                              {time}  1250

  I cannot understand why the House is considering this bill right now. 
The Senate just approved a landmark deal to avert the fiscal cliff with 
widespread bipartisan support--a vote of 89-8. Acting on the fiscal 
cliff legislation as soon as possible should be our first and most 
urgent order of business this afternoon. But instead, this bill--which 
is yet another assault on very hardworking, middle class American 
workers--was introduced not very long ago. Is this really the way the 
majority wants to begin the new year?
  Members of Congress certainly can do without a pay adjustment. And 
the bill passed by the Senate last night to resolve the fiscal cliff 
already includes a provision freezing Members' pay. I plan to vote for 
the package that came out of the Senate, assuming it stays in its 
present form. But Federal workers are the backbone of our government. 
Let me say that again: Federal workers are the backbone of our 
government. They're the ones who support our troops in the battlefield. 
They are the ones who provide care to our veterans. They're the same 
ones that bring about cures for dreadful diseases at NIH. They are the 
ones that protect our borders and safeguard our food supply. They're 
the same ones that ensure our seniors get their Social Security checks 
and help hunt down terrorists like Osama bin Laden. They're the same 
ones.
  In return for their hard work and dedication, the majority has 
rewarded Federal workers with an unprecedented assault on their 
compensation and on their benefits. This has included proposals to 
arbitrarily cut the number of Federal workers. All you've got to do in 
my district, when you go and visit a

[[Page H7524]]

place like Social Security and you talk to the employees--many of whom 
are my constituents--employee ranks are being decimated. People are 
working harder and harder without the help that they need. Our 
colleagues have gone on to slash retirement benefits and now with the 
most recent proposal to extend the current 2-year pay freeze for yet 
another year.
  I know all kinds of studies are presented to say that Federal workers 
are making a whole lot of money. Well, maybe we need to walk around and 
do a little survey of our own and talk to some of the people who work 
around here. Go to some of these Departments, Agriculture, the various 
Agencies, and talk to them. Talk to some of the ladies who may be a 
single-mother household making $45,000 a year; talk to her about a pay 
freeze. Talk to the gentlemen who moved our offices--we've seen them 
all in the House throughout our buildings--ask them about the pay 
freeze. Talk to them, and I think they will tell you another story.
  Millions of middle class Federal workers have already sacrificed more 
than $100 billion in the name of deficit reduction and to pay for the 
extension of unemployment benefits to millions of other workers; yet 
our House Republicans insist on raiding their pay and their benefits 
again. Enough is enough.
  We need to put aside this legislation and take up the fiscal cliff 
legislation immediately. The Senate has done its work, and now it is 
our responsibility.
  The one thing we should not do is let the markets open tomorrow 
without the fiscal cliff being resolved. As I listened to my good 
friend, Mr. Fitzpatrick, talk about this provision with regard to 
making sure that Members of Congress not get a pay increase--and I 
agree with him totally--I hope that he will also join me when I vote 
for the legislation that has been sent over here by the Senate since it 
contains that very, very important provision.
  With that, I wanted to thank again the gentleman for yielding.
  Mr. ISSA. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  The ranking member made a good point, and in this body you should 
always go along with that which is true and oppose that which is false. 
The gentleman made an excellent point: we do have hundreds of thousands 
of hardworking Federal employees. They deliver to the American people a 
good product. The vast majority of them, if you ask them, do not feel 
they're overcompensated. They've worked hard; they're highly educated; 
in fact, they're not overpaid in many ways. They do, in fact, have a 
very generous defined benefit plan, something the American people 
usually don't have, something that would guarantee them a pension over 
and above their 401(k). And automatically it increases with inflation; 
automatically it is funded. That's true whether you're a postal worker, 
a Member of this body, or the executive branch.
  We're not arguing whether or not the Federal worker is dedicated at 
all. We're arguing whether this is the right time to add $11 billion to 
a $10 trillion deficit that we're not dealing with. We have a $10 
trillion deficit after today's action on ``ending the cliff'' that is 
still going to be projected. It hasn't been scored exactly, but it will 
still be over $1 trillion this year--and if history repeats itself, for 
every remaining year of the Obama administration.
  Now, the gentleman from Maryland did say one thing that perhaps was 
not accurate--and he didn't mean to. He said, well, if you ask people 
around here. Well, perhaps he forgot that here in the House of 
Representatives, this entire body--except for congressional salaries, 
which are stipulated under the Constitution--we have, in fact, had to 
deal with a 5 percent reduction year over year in actual money 
available to run the House, and in the next year, 6.4 percent; meaning, 
we have dropped more than 11 percent in the dollars spent--not in some 
hypothetical base plus, but in the dollars spent we have dropped more 
than 11 percent under Speaker Boehner.
  That kind of a cut has not been duplicated by the executive branch. 
Had it been duplicated by the postal workers, we wouldn't have a $12 
billion loss there. Had it been duplicated by the executive branch, to 
be honest, Mr. Speaker, we would be talking today about how can we cut 
anymore and both sides would be agreeing. We haven't made an 11 percent 
drop in actual spending in 2 years. Had we done that, we wouldn't be 
looking at a hundred percent growth in the last 12 years in the cost of 
government.
  With that, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. CONNOLLY of Virginia. I would inquire of the Chair how much time 
remains on this side.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Virginia has 9\1/2\ 
minutes; the gentleman from California has 6 minutes.
  Mr. CONNOLLY of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I would simply observe to my 
friend, the chairman of the committee, in talking about the 11 percent 
cut here in the House of Representatives, of course that does not 
address the lack of productivity here in the House. There are many 
Americans who might think that that cut is deserved given how little 
got accomplished in the 112th Congress--one of the least productive 
Congresses in American history.
  Mr. ISSA. Will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. CONNOLLY of Virginia. I would normally yield, but I would remind 
my friend, Mr. Speaker, that he would not yield to me when he made his 
comments about cosponsorship of the piece of legislation, and so I 
reluctantly will not yield.
  I now yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. 
Lynch).
  Mr. LYNCH. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to this so-called ``Federal 
worker pay freeze.'' As the ranking member of the Subcommittee on the 
Federal Workforce, we have witnessed a deliberate effort over the past 
2 years of the Republican majority to undertake a series of legislative 
attacks on our middle-income Federal workers, and this bill is no 
different.
  Despite the title of this legislation, this bill would extend the 
current statutory pay freeze for all Federal civilian employees--the 
vast majority of whom are middle class earners--through 2013.
  In place of a balanced approach to deficit reduction based on a 
genuine commitment to shared sacrifice, this bill again seeks to target 
Federal employees who are already in their second year of a 2\1/2\-year 
pay freeze. Collectively, because of the pay freeze that's been in 
effect for the last couple of years, these same Federal workers have 
already contributed over $100 billion towards deficit reduction and 
continued unemployment benefits for other workers.
  I'd like to note that I am not opposed to a pay freeze for Members of 
Congress. I think we should lead by example. In fact, I have voted for 
pay freezes for congressional pay on six different occasions.

                              {time}  1300

  Regrettably, however, this legislation continues the concerning trend 
throughout the 112th Congress of attempting to address deficit 
reduction on the backs of middle-income workers in the Federal 
Government again by attacking their take-home pay. These are the 
dedicated folks who work at our VA hospitals; they protect our borders; 
they care for, again, our wounded veterans; they run the research 
facilities in researching cures for deadly disease, and they provide 
services to the Defense Department and the State Department. So these 
are the people that are doing the hard work, and this is not a way to 
repay them. Again, they are already in the second year of a 2\1/2\-year 
pay freeze.
  I agree that that pay freeze should apply to me and other Members of 
Congress; however, these hardworking fellow employees should not be 
asked to carry even more of this burden.
  I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Mr. ISSA. Mr. Speaker, I know my friend from Virginia means well, 
but, once again, he talks about a lack of accomplishment. Apparently, 
he hasn't looked at the work that the clerks have done here on the 
floor. He hasn't looked at the work that CBO, the Congressional Budget 
Office, has done, or the Government Accountability Office. Those are 
all funded, and yet we had an 11 percent reduction in spending.
  So, in fact, when we're talking about the hardworking men and women 
of the government, this branch has found a way to reduce spending by 
over 11

[[Page H7525]]

percent in spite of the hardworking men, not just here on the floor and 
in our offices, but the Governmental Accountability Office, the CBO and 
others.
  With that, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. CONNOLLY of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, before I call on the 
distinguished Member from Virginia, I would simply note, of course, the 
productivity I talk about is the productivity of this legislative body, 
not the honorable men and women who serve us, but for us.
  And we passed a fewer number of bills in living memory. We have been 
out for 15 weeks since August instead of doing the people's business. 
That is one of the least productive records in American history, and no 
words are going to change that, not in the history books and not in the 
minds of the American public that is showing its disapproval of that 
productivity with the low approval ratings of this Congress.
  I now am pleased to yield 3 minutes to the distinguished Member from 
Virginia (Mr. Moran).
  Mr. MORAN. Mr. Speaker, I thank my very good friend who has been 
tireless in representing not just the interests of his constituency but 
of this great country.
  Mr. Speaker, first of all, and it may seem petty, but if it were done 
by the other side, it would be a big deal. This bill was dropped at 
about 20 past 12 today and then it was brought up. Now, in less than an 
hour, we drop a bill and we bring it to the floor? That's not the way 
to do business. The caucuses are involved in other things. The whole 
Democratic Caucus is talking to the Vice President, and here we are 
about to do something of real consequence, not just for Federal 
employees and the Members of Congress, but for the country.
  First of all, as my very good friends, Mr. Lynch and Mr. Connolly, 
have pointed out, Federal employees have contributed now over $100 
billion toward deficit reduction. They have had their pay frozen for 2 
years. This will be a third year. New hires are going to have to 
contribute four times as much into their pension as they would have to 
today. So they're really being made a scapegoat. And we're doing this 
at a time when we're trying to compete in a global economy.
  Now, what happens is we send a message to Federal employees that if 
you can get out, get out. We don't really appreciate what you're doing 
for the public sector. Get into the private sector. Most of you can 
make two or three times what you're making in the public sector. So 
this is a good time to go, because otherwise your family is going to 
have to suffer and you're not going to be able to achieve the kind of 
quality of life that your talents, experience, and skills would merit, 
and we're going to continue doing this to you individually and 
collectively.
  That's not the way to run a government. We pass all these laws, we 
pass appropriation bills, and then it's the executive branch's 
responsibility to carry them out. How do we think we can pass these 
laws and then expect people to carry these laws out with efficiency and 
effectiveness when we take $100 billion out of their compensation? What 
kind of a message does that send to the people who serve us directly 
and all of the American people's interests in terms of their ultimate 
mission? It sends all the wrong message.
  Now, I know people don't care much about the procedural issue, but, 
boy, what a precedent to set.
  Mr. ISSA. Will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. MORAN. Yes, I yield to the gentleman.
  Mr. ISSA. I might note for the gentleman, it was posted last night, 
which means it was actually posted before the cliff bill. The technical 
dropping is a different rule. But it was posted, so it was available to 
all Members last night. And, of course, as you know, it's very simple. 
We simply freeze, and that's not hard for people to understand. I hope 
the gentleman understands a half percent freeze is all this bill does.
  Mr. MORAN. I trust the gentleman will yield me the 30 seconds that he 
took to explain that.
  Mr. ISSA. I would be delighted to yield the gentleman 15 seconds.
  Mr. MORAN. I thank the chairman.
  The point is: you drop it on New Year's Eve. I'm not sure if that 
isn't a distinction without a difference, really. There's been no time 
to review this. Nobody's focused on this.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.
  Mr. CONNOLLY of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I yield the gentleman an 
additional 15 seconds.
  Mr. MORAN. I would hope the gentleman who chairs Oversight and 
Government Reform would recognize, as Mr. Connolly and Mr. Lynch have 
recognized, that there are some very serious risks in going forward 
with this. I don't think that the way to solve our deficit situation is 
to cut off our nose to spite our face, and that's really what we are 
doing here. This is not fair to the Federal workforce, it's not fair to 
the country, and it should not be passed today.
  Mr. ISSA. Mr. Speaker, I note, once again, that this is a half a 
percent that will not be increased by this action--half a percent--so 
on $100,000 it's $500 of a pay raise that will not occur for Federal 
workers, and, in fact, the sky is not falling if we choose not to have 
that happen this year.
  With that, I'd like to yield 1\1/2\ minutes to the gentleman from 
Texas (Mr. Flores).
  Mr. FLORES. Mr. Speaker, our Nation is on the verge of going over a 
fiscal cliff because Washington has a spending problem. President Obama 
still does not understand this problem as he has recently issued an 
executive order granting pay increases to most civilian employees and 
to Members of Congress. I believe that, given our current economic 
climate and huge Federal deficits, these raises are grossly 
inappropriate and represent an insult to hardworking American 
taxpayers. These factors have prompted me to join this legislation to 
halt these unnecessary salary increases.
  You have heard arguments today that Federal workers are being 
victimized by this legislation. Well, here are a few facts that will 
rebut that assumption:
  One, the income of the average American private sector family has 
gone down about $4,000 during the last 4 years;
  Number two, Federal workers, on average, earn pay and benefits that 
are equal to about twice that of their private sector counterparts;
  Number three, Federal workers pay an amount into their Federal 
retirement plan that is less than one-tenth of the amount that private 
sector employees have to pay into Social Security; and
  Four, last year, hardworking American taxpayers had to pay about $40 
billion to subsidize the insolvency of the Civil Service Retirement 
System.
  Mr. Speaker, for these reasons and the huge deficits of our Federal 
Government, I support this legislation wholeheartedly.
  Mr. CONNOLLY of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I have an inquiry. How much 
time remains on this side?
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Virginia has 2\3/4\ 
minutes remaining. The gentleman from California has 3\1/2\ minutes 
remaining.
  Mr. CONNOLLY of Virginia. If I may inquire, Mr. Speaker, if my 
colleague on the other side has any other speakers?
  Mr. ISSA. Not at this time, so I would simply reserve the right to 
close.
  Mr. CONNOLLY of Virginia. I'm prepared to wrap up and yield back, and 
I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I'm worried about the future of the Federal workforce's 
continued denigration of public service. Continued whacking away at 
compensation and benefits that make it an attractive career choice for 
so many young people is going to make it much harder to recruit and 
retain the skilled workforce of the future. And despite what my 
colleague just indicated--I'm not quite sure where he got his 
statistics--the Federal Salary Council, which looks at Federal salaries 
every year, concluded that Federal employees earned, in 2011, 26.3 
percent less than their private sector counterparts and, this year, 
34.6 percent less. A CBO study found that people in the Federal 
workforce with a Ph.D. degree earn 23 percent less than their private 
sector counterparts, and if you had a bachelor's degree, roughly 23 
percent less, and only in the high school level did

[[Page H7526]]

they actually earn more, 21 percent more.

                              {time}  1310

  Actually, we've got a problem. As we look at the baby boom generation 
getting ready to retire, 47 percent of the entire existing workforce is 
eligible for retirement over this next decade. How will we recruit and 
retain that workforce if we're going to continue to use them not only 
as a piggy bank to finance the deficit, but perhaps more disgracefully 
as a punching bag in terms of disparagement of service? We are far away 
from John Kennedy's call to serve your country.
  Mr. Speaker, with that, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. ISSA. I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, in closing, this bill is going to pass, and it's going 
to pass likely on a bipartisan basis because it would be the ultimate 
in inappropriate behavior by this body to allow our pay to be raised. 
This is something I think that both sides have said fairly 
straightforward that this is not a time in which Members of Congress 
should take their $174,000 salary and increase it. I don't believe 
we've earned it this year. By the way, I believe the President's salary 
will not go up and the Vice President's salary will not go up, and that 
is also appropriate.
  But as we look at the hardworking men and women of the Federal 
workforce and look at my colleagues from Virginia who spoke and my 
colleague from Maryland who spoke, the point that the Federal workforce 
should be listening to today is that, in fact, it's not how hard they 
work; it's what can the American people afford. We cannot afford to 
continue these deficits. It's not how hard they work. It is the 
inefficiency and waste not just in their office, but in the way 
government is organized.
  Mr. Speaker, everyone had a New Year's resolution, I trust, last 
night. For all of us, I'm sure it was to lose a little weight, do a few 
other things that we haven't been doing; but for me particularly, it's 
to go after the duplication in government, to go after the 
organizational flaws in government that would allow us to be less 
critical, perhaps, of what we can afford from our Federal workforce and 
more proud of the fact that it is organized for efficiency.
  Mr. Speaker, in closing, the President called for reorganization 
authority and then did nothing in his first term. It is my goal to give 
him reorganization and a reorganizational plan. It is my committee's 
obligation to do that.
  As I vote today to freeze our pay and to freeze all of the Federal 
workers' pay, I do so recognizing that the best way for Federal workers 
to get a pay raise without it being on the backs of the American people 
is for us to reorganize government, whether it's in information 
technology or any other goods and services that Federal Government 
delivers. We can do better. We can take waste out of Medicare, and we 
can take waste out of all aspects of the Federal Government.
  Mr. Speaker, I know this bill will pass on a bipartisan basis because 
it's appropriate to do here today. I urge its support, and I yield back 
the balance of my time.
  Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to H.R. 
6726, a bill that aims to claw back the .5% COLA promised to federal 
employees when the Continuing Resolution expires in March of this year. 
While I do not oppose the provision of the bill that freezes the pay 
for Members of Congress, I cannot support a measure that asks federal 
employees who have already disproportionately sacrificed so much for 
deficit reduction to sacrifice even more.
  This bill is yet another assault on the middle-class Americans who 
work to ensure that the food we eat and the water we drink are safe. 
These dedicated public servants protect our airports, care for our 
injured veterans and guard our borders. And yet, as this bill proves, 
their service and sacrifices are not valued by many in Congress who, 
when they look at federal employees can only see their pensions and pay 
and benefits as a source they can turn to anytime they need extra cash.
  Federal workers have contributed $60 billion as part of a two-year 
pay freeze; they contributed $15 billion more as part of the Payroll 
Tax Extension; and the Continuing Resolution the government is 
currently operating under asked them to forgo, until March, the .5% 
COLA they were promised this year. If this bill passes, the two year 
pay freeze Federal employees are currently laboring under will be 
extended for another year. Enough is enough!
  Members of Congress can afford to go without a pay raise, but Federal 
employees should not be treated as if they were the federal 
government's piggy-bank.
  I ask my colleagues to join me in opposing this bill so that we stop 
wasting our time in the dying hours of this Congress and instead focus 
our attention on the important business of moving the bipartisan 
package that the Senate passed yesterday to address the Fiscal Cliff.
  Ms. McCOLLUM. Mr. Speaker, with regard to H.R. 6726, this is a bill 
to deny all federal civilian employees a 0.5% pay increase after they 
have endured two consecutive years of a mandatory pay freeze. This bill 
unfairly punishes federal employees who have already sacrificed 
significantly during difficult economic times. By denying federal 
employees even a modest salary adjustment this Republican bill 
strangles the federal workforce, making federal service an ever less 
attractive career option for America's best and brightest.
  This bill also denies a modest cost of living increase to Members of 
Congress. If House Republicans want to deny a pay increase for Members 
of Congress then they should have put forward a clean bill that does 
not punish the federal civilian workforce.
  Last night the U.S. Senate passed the bipartisan amendment to H.R. 8 
that prevents a tax increase for 98% of American taxpayers. In Section 
902 of that legislation is language denying a cost of living increase 
to Members of Congress in 2013. If my Republican colleagues really want 
to deny Congress a pay increase that has a chance of becoming law then 
I urge them to vote for the Senate's bipartisan agreement that raises 
taxes on millionaires and billionaires and cuts taxes for middle class 
families.
  Mr. CURSON. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to this bill that would 
extend the current two-and-half year pay freeze for federal employees.
  Unlike others in the middle class, federal employees are the LONE 
segment that has made sacrifices that are directly dedicated to deficit 
reduction. Federal employees have sacrificed $60 billion dollars in 
lost wages over 10 years for deficit reduction, they have been forced 
to pay 50% of the cost of the Unemployment Insurance extension, 
contributing another $15 billion, and their contribution to their 
pension from their pay has significantly been raised, further depleting 
their available cash to take care of daily necessities.
  These impacts are being felt by hard working employees, critical to 
our nation, who are by no means the highly paid federal employees. We 
are talking about nursing assistants in VA hospitals that care for our 
wounded veterans who make only $27,000 a year or prison correctional 
officers at 38,000 who face our most dangerous criminals daily. Once 
again, regular working men and women are being asked to sacrifice in 
the name of national debt reduction, and yet this Congress has yet to 
pass a SINGLE tax increase on the wealthiest Americans.
  Federal employees earn and deserve their wages. These workers will 
purchase goods and services, pay off bills and put this money right 
back into our economy. The burden of deficit reduction should be 
shared, not placed squarely on the back of America's middle class.
  One more point--to be clear passage of this bill will include a pay 
raise for members of Congress--a raise they do not deserve. We can 
remedy that misfortune by passing the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 
2012 which specifically restricts an increase in Members of Congress 
pay.
  Mr. WOLF. Mr. Speaker, Members of Congress do not deserve a pay 
raise. I won't accept one. In fact, all of us should have our pay 
docked, as should the president. But that's not what this vote is 
about. It's time for members of both parties to stop attacking our 
Nation's hardworking civil servants.
  Unlike other sectors of our society, since the beginning of 2011, 
federal employees, as a result of reduced compensation and benefits, 
have already made significant contributions to efforts to reduce our 
Nation's deficit. I know that every federal employee continually is 
willing to contribute to efforts that address our Nation's unfunded 
spending obligations and liabilities. However, they also rightly expect 
that others will join them in this effort.
  The legislation before us could have a significant impact on our 
ability to recruit and retain qualified employees.
  Has anyone fully considered the impact that a three-year pay freeze 
will have on the CIA, the NSA, the National Reconnaissance Office and 
the National Counter Terrorism Center?
  Or the impact on the FBI, which has, since 9/11, disrupted scores of 
terrorist plots against our country?
  Or the impact on our military, which is supported by federal 
employees every day on military bases across the Nation?

[[Page H7527]]

  Or the impact on VA hospitals across the country, which are treating 
military veterans from World War II to today?
  Or the impact on the Border Patrol?
  Or the impact on NASA, its astronauts, engineers and scientists, 
especially on the nine-year anniversary of the tragic loss of the 
Columbia crew and a week after the 45th anniversary of the loss of the 
Apollo 1 crew?
  Or the impact on NIH, and other federal researchers, scientists and 
doctors?
  Clearly, federal employees don't just sit behind desks. They are 
members of our communities who are out in the field, often in harm's 
way, protecting our Nation. Within the last year, residents in northern 
Virginia mourned the loss of two federal employees who died in the line 
of duty--U.S. Park Police Sergeant Michael Andrew Boehm of Burke, and 
National Park Service Ranger Margaret Anderson, who previously 
worshipped in Lovettsville.
  Their sacrifices remind us that many federal employees are often put 
in dangerous situations. Since 1992, nearly 3,000 federal employees 
have paid the ultimate price while serving their country, according to 
the Office of Personnel Management. The first American killed in 
Afghanistan, Mike Spann, was a CIA agent and a constituent of mine from 
Manassas Park. I attended his funeral. Over 100,000 CIA, FBI, DEA 
agents, and State Department employees have served side-by-side with 
our military to carry out the War on Terror in locations such as Iraq 
and Afghanistan. Three years ago, I attended funerals for some of the 
seven CIA agents who were killed by a suicide bomber at Forward 
Operating Base Chapman near Khost on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
  Our Nation mourns the loss of the four Americans who died during the 
attack on the U.S. consulate and annex in Benghazi, Libya, U.S. 
Ambassador J. Christopher Stephens, U.S. Foreign Service Officer Sean 
Smith, and two former Navy Seals, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods.
  And we should not forget that the CIA agents who planned and helped 
execute the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden are federal employees.
  Every day, Border Patrol agents and ICE agents are working to stop 
the flow of illegal immigrants, victims of human trafficking and drugs 
across our borders. Federal firefighters work to protect federal lands 
and mitigate the spread of deadly fires. Immediately following the 
December 2011 shooting at Virginia Tech, some of the first law 
enforcement officers on the scene were ATF agents. These are but a few 
examples of the vital jobs performed by federal employees.
  Federal employees who are not in harm's way on a daily basis are also 
dedicated public servants. The medical researchers at the National 
Institutes of Health working to develop cures for cancer, diabetes, 
Alzheimer's, Lyme disease and autism are all federal employees. Dr. 
Francis Collins, the physician who mapped the human genome and serves 
as director of the NIH, is a federal employee. The CDC employees 
tracking steroid shots tainted with meningitis are federal employees. 
The USDA researchers who work with our farmers to find solutions for 
the invasive species that are destroying our crops are federal 
employees. The National Weather Service meteorologists who track 
tornadoes and hurricanes, as well as the FDA inspectors working to stop 
a salmonella outbreak, are federal employees.
  The Nation's debt limit has been reached. We have annual deficits of 
more than $1 trillion. We are facing the prospect of across-the-board 
cuts to programs from the sequester. All of our Nation's fiscal 
problems could be resolved if the Congress had the will to pass the 
bipartisan Simpson-Bowles proposal, which I have long supported and 
have voted for.
  I vote no.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentleman from California (Mr. Issa) that the House suspend the rules 
and pass the bill, H.R. 6726.
  The question was taken.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. In the opinion of the Chair, two-thirds 
being in the affirmative, the ayes have it.
  Mr. ISSA. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX, further 
proceedings on this question will be postponed.

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