It is very likely that the lame duck Congress, perhaps with the backing of the White House, will send the nation a belt-tightening message. Starting with your belt.
The message could come in the form of a pay freeze, furloughs, limited hiring or a combination thereof. That, if it happens, would also probably include a symbolic congressional pay cut. Taking 10 percent off the top shouldn’t hurt many representatives or senators who routinely spend millions of dollars (often from their own personal wealth) to get a job paying $174,000 a year.
When it comes to sacrifices, members of Congress have a choice. The sacrificial lambs don’t. So what do feds think?
“I am proud and honored to be a federal government employee and a military veteran. Both my mother (HUD) and father ( Labor and Interior) were feds as well. I have a brother with Defense in St. Louis. I am not overpaid by any stretch of the imagination but at the same time I think I am paid fairly. And I work for it. But there comes a time and I think this is that time. I am ready, able and willing to do whatever it takes to help us get back on solid financial ground. If taking a pay freeze helps I’ll do it. Same for furloughs. All I would ask is that our elected officials think this through carefully, in a nonpartisan manner (if that is still possible in this climate) and also make some sacrifices.” — Marc (career fed)
“Why cant furloughs be limited to the higher grades (GS-11)…because they already reside in their ivory towers and are immune from the stresses of low finances. Just let the lower grades (GS-9 and below) continue to come to work so that we can make ends meet.” — Audrey (Army)
“Congress can do anything it wants, correct? Isn’t that why they call them lawmakers? So if they do make the law and do decide to furlough federal workers, I have a suggestion. Make it voluntary! My guess is that a lot of people would jump at the chance for extra time off even if they weren’t paid for it. A couple of 3-day or 4-day long weekends for those who want it and can afford it would be a treat. And it could provide a baby-step economic jump in some areas if people decided to shop and have fun or go away for an unplanned long weekend.”
“I know that in the private sector many employees given the option of seniority-based layoffs of younger workers or voluntary furloughs for everybody have opted for the latter. Giving federal government workers the option of a furlough could save a lot of money without hurting people who live paycheck to paycheck.” — Nick (Bethesda)
“Above all else, I would like a pay raise (because of high-3 for retirement) even though 10 furlough days would put less money in my pocket!” — Cathy
“I’m a non-union employee in a highly-unionized (non-postal) agency. I do not belong to the union not because I’m too busy, too cheap, or afraid of the union. It’s because I strongly disagree with their ‘what’s in it for me’ liberal philosophy and their politics of division. I did not ask for their representation nor do I want it. The taxpayer be damned. What’s best for the country is a long forgotten afterthought.” — L.T.
“As to the possibility of furloughs I think you might be right. The CR ends on Nov 30th. We may be in for a couple of days off if the Republicans want to throw their weight around and not pass a budget.
“I don’t know. Sometimes in the long run it is better when Congress is gridlocked and nothing gets done. It would be better than all the money they spent this year.” — Linda (Montana)
“Nobody wants to have their pay frozen or be furloughed without pay. On the other hand, my brother was furloughed for a week (5 days in a row) last year. This followed a 5 percent pay cut which members of his union agreed to take to keep the company afloat. My son has been downgraded to working 4 days a week. If they put him on part-time (3 days or less per week) he will lose his health benefits. Given what is going on in the country I think we, federal workers, had better brace for a dose of reality. I am still delighted to serve my country and happy I have a steady job and lifetime retirement benefits when the day comes.” Ed (Virginia Beach)
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