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Chris V.
Democrat MD 8

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  • Elimination of 2013 Pay Adjustment

    by Representative Chris Van Hollen

    Posted on 2013-02-15

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    VAN HOLLEN of maryland in the house of representatives Friday, February 15, 2013 Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Mr. Speaker, this legislation is nothing more than an attempt to penalize hardworking federal employees who are doing our nation's business. I support extending the freeze on Congressional pay, but there is no reason we should block federal civil servants from receiving a partial COLA of a \1/2\ of 1 percent.

    Federal workers have already contributed $103 billion toward lowering our deficit through pay freezes and increases in their retirement contributions. A full pay freeze for a third year in a row would take another $11 billion out of the pockets of these dedicated public servants.

    And let's be clear: this bill does not cut spending by one dime because it does not change the overall spending caps. As a result, these dollars will be spent elsewhere in the budget. So while this bill does nothing to reduce the deficit, it does punish people doing essential work for our country. It punishes: Nurses caring for our wounded warriors; the FBI agents who helped rescue the young boy in Alabama; air traffic controllers who keep our skies safe to fly; scientists doing lifesaving medical research; meat and food inspectors [[Page E174]] who keep our food safe; the individuals who helped get the intelligence to track down Osama bin Laden; and the individuals who keep our border safe, ensure Social Security payments arrive on time, and so many others who do the work of America.

    All that is bad enough. At the same time, this bill does nothing to avoid the hit to the economy and jobs that will begin on March 1, just over two weeks from today.

    I want everyone to remember two numbers. First, 750,000. That is the number of jobs that will be lost between March 1 and the end of the year if we don't stop the sequester. This number doesn't come from me; it comes from the nonpartisan, independent Congressional Budget Office, CBO.

    That job loss is equal to wiping out all the job gains from October 1 of last year through last month--5 months--of job gains. Additionally, the sequester will cut economic growth this year one-third. So, we should prevent this needless action from taking place. And House Democrats have repeatedly offered a plan to do so.

    The second number to remember is 4. That is the number of times Democrats have tried to get a vote on our plan to replace the sequester with the same amount of long term deficit reduction without hurting jobs or the economy. Our Republicans colleagues have not lifted a finger in the 113th Congress to prevent these impending job losses.

    In fact, Tea Party Republicans like Senator Rand Paul are cheering for this job cleaver to come down.

    Our plan would replace the $120 billion sequester for the remainder of the year, with an equal amount of long-term deficit reduction without harming jobs and disrupting the economy.

    The key elements of our plan are as follows: cut direct payment subsidies to agribusiness by $29 billion; cut Big Oil tax subsidies by $38 billion; implement the Buffet Rule, which brings in $54 billion in revenue. That totals $121 billion of offsetting deficit reduction that won't hurt the economy or kill jobs.

    So instead of penalizing hard working federal employees, let's focus on preventing the loss of 750,000 American jobs and let's pass the Stop the Sequester Job Loss Act now.


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