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House of Representatives votes to give federal workers a raise over objections from Rep. Jim Jordan

January 30, 2019

House of Representatives votes to give federal workers a raise over objections from Rep. Jim Jordan

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives voted Wednesday to give federal employees a 2.6 percent raise, counteracting a Dec. 28 order by President Donald Trump to freeze federal pay for civilian employees.

The measure passed in a 259 to 161 vote, with unanimous Democratic backing and support from 29 Republicans, including Ohioans Anthony Gonzalez of Rocky River, Dave Joyce of Bainbridge Township, Bill Johnson of Marietta and Mike Turner of the Dayton area.

The bill’s sponsor, Virginia Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly, said it would give civilian employees the same pay raise members of the military received in 2019, and in the wake of the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, it would “show federal employees that we in Congress appreciate the work that they do and the sacrifices they make.”

I strongly supported passage of the Federal Civilian Workforce Pay Raise Fairness Act of 2019 in the House today. Civilian federal employees go above and beyond to serve our country and our community. They have earned our support. My full statement: https://t.co/6e3XZwa2cE— US Rep. Mike Turner (@RepMikeTurner) January 30, 2019

“Civilian federal employees go above and beyond to serve our country and our community,” said a statement from Ohio’s Turner, whose congressional district has more than 15,000 of them. “They have earned our support.”

American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. said the pay raise was overdue. Even before the month-long shutdown that delayed pay for 800,000 federal employees, Cox said federal workers “endured years of financial uncertainty and strain due to pay and hiring freezes, pension cuts, unpaid furloughs, and other government shutdowns.” He said they earn nearly 5 percent less today than they did at the start of the decade, and have incurred over $200 billion in cuts to their pay and benefits since 2011.

Champaign County, Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan argued that federal workers already get paid more than similarly qualified private sector employees, and said such a raise would end up giving tax money from lower-paid private sector workers to people who make more money than they do.

Government employees already make more money than folks in the private sector.And now Democrats want to give them a pay raise using YOUR taxpayer dollars. How’s that fair? pic.twitter.com/CdEBfHVHOz— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) January 30, 2019

Jordan also objected to a provision in a separate Democratic voting access bill that would let federal workers take up to six days of paid leave to serve as poll workers, which he said would “pay them to work on campaigns.” Another provision in that bill, which would make Election Day a paid holiday for federal workers, “is not where we need to be” and disrespects taxpayers, Jordan argued.

A group of Democratic U.S. Senators introduced a similar pay raise proposal for civilian federal workers on Tuesday, but it’s unclear that it will go anywhere in the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate. A spokesman for Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, David Popp, said he could provide no scheduling announcements or guidance on the matter.

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