Federal pay freeze proposal defeated

By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor

The Senate has rejected an attempt to freeze federal pay and the size of the government workforce.

The chamber on Thursday blocked an amendment by Republican Senator John Thune (SD).

The measure was aimed at paying for a jobs and tax bill, in part by eliminating federal pay raises and bonuses for 2011. It would have also held the number of federal workers at current levels.

Also included in the defeated proposal was funding for a planned State Department security training facility on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

The Baltimore Sun reports Thune, a potential 2012 presidential candidate, pushed the tax-and-spending alternative as the Senate continued to struggle with a major piece of legislation that would extend unemployment insurance and roll back a proposed reduction in fees paid to doctors under the Medicare program.

GovExec reports Delaware Democratic Sen. Ted Kaufman chastised Republicans during debate, saying they were using incorrect information on federal pay to scapegoat hardworking employees.

“Over the years, as I’ve witnessed countless acts of personal courage, devotion to country and real sacrifice” by federal employees, Kaufman said. “I have also seen and heard such disheartening and baseless attacks against those who choose to serve. The pending amendment is just the latest assault.”

Kaufman said it has become too common for politicians to criticize Washington by “defaming” civil servants.

The amendment was defeated 41 – 57.

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