Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said, "Already, federal employees have contributed more than any other group to address our fiscal deficit and economic circumstances — $103 billion over 10 years from the pay freeze and from higher pension contributions from new federal hires. If followed, the formula under federal law would have provided a higher raise. By lowering the amount they are actually due, federal employees will contribute another $18 billion to budget savings, according to the Office of Management and Budget."
The National Federation of Federal Employees' president, William Dougan, was more positive.
"This adjustment, in addition to the proposed 2013 adjustment, would be a critical lifeline for federal employees across the nation who are struggling in this economy just like everyone else," he said. "Now it is up to Congress to support this year's federal pay increase and deliver our dedicated federal employees the adjustment they have earned."
Legislation sponsored by Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., would extend the freeze through 2013. When he introduced his bill last month, he said that "we simply cannot afford" the 0.5 percent hike. "This bill rescinds the president's action and makes clear that the federal workforce — including Cabinet secretaries, members of Congress and other salaried employees — will not receive an across-the-board pay increase this year."
But another Republican, Rep. Frank Wolf of Virginia, disagreed. In a letter sent Friday to his Republican colleagues, Wolf urged a "no" vote on the bill.
"Everyone knows they are an easy target," Wolf wrote of federal workers. "But we are kidding ourselves if we think we can balance the budget on the backs of federal employees. It's a drop in the bucket towards deficit reduction and a hollow gesture absent meaningful mandatory spending reforms. Worse, this is just busywork as our economy faces the sequestration meat ax."