House Panel Approves Federal Pay Freeze Extension

A House panel on Wednesday approved a fiscal 2013 spending bill that would extend the federal pay freeze for another year, effectively freezing federal employees’ salaries for the third straight year, according to a lawmaker.

The bill would also include severe spending cuts that could potentially cause more Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employee buyouts.

The $21.2 billion spending bill was approved in a voice vote by the House Appropriations Financial Services Subcommittee. The bill is $376 million below fiscal 2012 spending levels and $2 billion below the Obama administration’s fiscal 2013 request.

“In this and other appropriations bills, the House is following the ill-advised path of the budget resolution passed by the House that threatens the vital services by severely underfunding federal agencies,” said National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) President Colleen Kelley.

The decrease in funding levels could also trigger more employee buyouts, one representative warned the subcommittee.

“Thus, fewer audits will be performed, more tax cheats will get away,” Rep. Norman Dicks, D-Wash., said.

The panel also approved cuts in the General Services Administration’s budget for administrative expenses associated to its Federal Buildings Fund and provisions that would increase oversight of the agency following the GSA conference spending scandal, including a quarterly spending report requirement, limitations on cash awards to agency employees and a prohibition on non-complying conferences.

The full House Appropriations Committee will take up the bill next.

Posted in From the Hill

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