House Republicans Target ‘Overly Generous Compensation’ for Feds
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing last week centered on federal employee compensation. Specifically, the notion that feds are overpaid.
At the hearing, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chairman of the government operations subcommittee, said “taxpayers are stuck paying for overly generous compensation” that “rewards tenure rather than performance.”
Meadows, chairman of the right-wing House Freedom Caucus, always makes a point of praising “an incredibly dedicated federal workforce” and visiting their workplaces. That he is not a fed-basher demonstrates how pervasive his position is among Republicans who control Congress, reports the Washington Post.
The hearing was spurred by an April report from the Congressional Budget Office wherein federal employees were said to earn 17 percent more than their private sector companions. This, in large part, caused by the fact that most federal workers are paid according to the General Schedule compensation system that inhibits the government’s ability to reward performance over tenure.
This same pay schedule also harms the federal government’s ability to attract top talent in high demand areas like cybersecurity.
Furthermore, if small adjustments are made to federal employees’ benefits package, it could save tax payers $207 billion over ten years.
“The real lesson for today’s hearing is not that middle class federal workers are making too much,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), the ranking Democrat on the panel. “It is that private sector workers — especially those with the lowest incomes and educations — are making too little.”
While creating a new pay system is a long-term goal for the government, significant cuts to the retirement program could be a short-term reality. Trump’s budget plan calls for a 1.9 percent pay raise for federal employees, but also make drastic cuts to their retirement package.
“The biggest losers from President Trump’s draconian cuts to federal employee pay and benefits will be the American people who count on dedicated federal employees to care for our veterans, maintain our national parks, and process Social Security checks each and every day,” Rep. Gerald Connolly (Va.), the top subcommittee Democrat said. “Cuts of this magnitude will make it impossible to recruit and retain the qualified workforce we need to meet our nation’s challenges.”
Image: "CBP Commisioner Kerlikowske testifies before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee (24653524010).jpg" used under public domain.
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