Yesterday, May 18, 2017, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing titled An Update on Federal Employee Compensation. The hearing was conducted to discuss a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report which stated that federal employees earn, on average, 17 percent more than their private-sector counterparts. This not only includes wages or salaries in the calculations, but total compensation including benefits. Furthermore, the report stated that federal employees with a high school diploma earn 53 percent more than their equivalents in the private sector, 21 percent more with a college diploma, and 18 percent less with a professional degree than those in the private sector. The majority of the committee wanted to use these findings as a springboard to introduce legislation which would cut wages and benefits to federal employees and erode due process.
While everyone agreed that aspects of the government need to be modernized, and hiring and due process need to be more efficient, there was a stark difference on how to interpret these findings. Congressman Stephen Lynch (D-MA) put it best as he said why take away pensions, health benefits, loan reimbursements, loan forgiveness plans, flexible hours and more healthcare options, which make working for the federal government so appealing, if only to make it look like the private sector. Instead we should be promoting policies to make these practices law in the private sector in an era when inequality is at an all-time high.
Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) praised the hard work and sacrifice of feds while reiterating the idea that we do not want the federal government to follow the private sector in the race to the bottom of inequality by making arbitrary cuts. Instead the government should serve as an example of many of the best practices.
FMA is eager to help modernize the federal government in a responsible manner in order to make it more efficient and effective, but will never support cuts to wages or benefits of hard-working federal employees who work diligently to complete their congressionally-mandated missions.
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. If we see movement on related legislation, you can be assured FMA will alert you to it and recommend a course of action. If you have any questions about this hearing, or any piece of legislation, please contact us at 703-683-8700 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We appreciate hearing from our members.
Government Affairs Assistant