Rep. Gerry Connolly, whose Northern Virginia district is home to many federal employees, signed on to a letter last week asking payroll tax conferees not to freeze federal employees' salaries for a third year.
To bolster their position, Republicans point to a recent Congressional Budget Office report showing that federal workers earn on average 16 percent more than their private-sector counterparts. A 2011 study by two conservative scholars found the disparity to be even greater.
Michael Steel, spokesman for Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), stresses that Duffy’s bill is simply extending pay freezes already endorsed by the Obama administration, although the president has not endorsed the extension.
Some Democrats are siding with Republicans.
“At a time when Utah families are struggling with tight budgets, now is not the time for Members of Congress or federal employees to receive a pay increase,” Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah) said. “Reducing the red ink back here and putting us on a path toward a balanced budget will take shared sacrifice and that starts with us, not just talking the talk, but walking the walk.”
Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), who appealed to the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction last year to cut Congressional salaries by 5 percent, also plans to vote for the bill, according to spokesman Willy Ritch.
Former Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., candidate for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire, holds his hand over his heart during the singing of the national anthem as he waits to take the stage for his town hall campaign rally with Sen. John McCain at the Pinkerton Academy in Derry, N.H., on Monday, Aug. 18, 2014.