Congress Balks at Executive Order to End Federal Pay Freeze

Last month, President Obama issued an executive order bringing an end to the more than two-year federal pay freeze. Effective March 27th, 2013, federal workers will see a pay increase of 0.5 percent; a small sum, but more than anything federal employees have seen since 2010.

In the closing days of the 112th Congress, however, the House of Representatives voted to freeze federal pay through the remainder of 2013. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA) was passed by a surprisingly lopsided vote of 287-129, with 55 Democrats joining Republicans to extend the much-maligned freeze. Luckily for federal employees, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) refused to take up the measure in the Senate, effectively killing the bill.

With the 112th Congress coming to a close just a handful of days after the House vote, the bill is now officially dead. However, this does not mean that federal workers are home free just yet – not by a longshot.

In the recently passed deal to avert the fiscal cliff, elected leaders delayed finding a solution to the debt-ceiling and $1.2 trillion in automatic sequestration cuts that are set to hit the nation in February and March. Much like the debt ceiling debate of 2011, certain members of Congress are expected to use the threat of a government default to extract cuts to agency budgets and federal compensation from the President.

What is the bargaining chip these anti-federal employee members of Congress have consistently put into play in these debates? You guessed it – federal pay.

Though the fiscal cliff was avoided, the game has truly just begun for federal workers everywhere. NFFE will continue to fight for federal workers until the gavel has dropped on any potential solution. For the latest on federal pay, sequestration and the debt ceiling, visit our website at or “Like” us on Facebook at