One prime example of this is the president’s December 2012 executive order implementing an across-the-board pay raise for non-military federal employees, including members of Congress, the president’s cabinet and even the vice president. These pay raises are not merit-based and apply to bureaucrats whose total compensation averages 16 percent more than their private sector counterparts.
It’s hard to imagine justifying such a pay increase when the average federal employee’s compensation in Washington D.C. is nearly double the median U.S. household income of roughly $50,000 per year, especially when the cost to taxpayers for implementing this across-the-board pay increase is $11 billion in new spending over 10 years. This action alone shows that President Obama is not serious about controlling Washington’s insatiable spending.
My very first piece of legislation since being sworn into office, H.R. 273, will begin to tackle our fiscal deficiencies and Obama’s overspending head-on. This bill overturns the president’s executive order by continuing the temporary pay freeze that now extends through March for an additional nine months. It also implements a key recommendation of the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles Commission, which recommended a three year pay freeze.
This common sense legislation enjoys the support of 45 co-sponsors as well the support of conservative groups such as, the Club for Growth, Heritage Action, National Taxpayers Union, Americans for Tax Reform, and FreedomWorks. And if common sense alone isn’t enough of a reason to support this bill, the following facts from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) make a very compelling case. For example, taking benefits out of the equation, federal employees make nine percent more than private sector workers overall. Highly-skilled employees (with a professional degree or PhD) were the only federal employees compensated less on average than their private sector counterparts. And in assessing compensation, the CBO study did not even quantify certain benefits, such as job security, enjoyed by federal employees. Of course, private sector wages have remained stagnant or have even declined since the recession began; compensation for government employment must bear at least some relationship to the private sector economy that pays the taxes necessary to support it.
With our nation nearly $17 trillion in debt, the president should be looking at ways to reduce spending, not increase it. When my bill goes up for a vote this Friday, the House will have the opportunity not only to prevent $11 billion in new spending, but also to begin laying the foundation for economic growth, a fiscally sustainable future and a government that is less costly and more accountable to the people.
DeSantis is a freshman member of Congress from Florida’s newly created sixth district.