Senators say it's time for delinquent federal workers to pay up

Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) have teamed up to take on federal employees who don’t pay their taxes.

The senators announced Wednesday that they have filed a bill that seeks to collect an estimated $1 billion in back taxes owed by federal employees by threatening the employees with termination if they don't pay up.

“The bill requires all federal employees to be current on their federal income taxes or be fired from their jobs. This is a common sense bill that most Americans would believe is reasonable, necessary, and likely surprised that it is not already the standard throughout the federal government,” Coburn’s office stated in a press release.

A fact sheet notes that “there are now well over 2 million federal employees, and this number is only expected to rise as the President recently proposed to increase workforce by 15,000 in 2012.”

It calls the “disparity” between private-sector pay and pay for federal workers “appalling.”

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McCaskill, who faces a tough re-election bid in 2012, has come out as one of the toughest deficit hawks in her party, and has sponsored a bill that would use spending caps to achieve a balanced budget. She and Coburn are involved in conversations to come up with a bipartisan deficit solution this year.

Federal worker pay has come under attack by congressional Republicans, and President Obama in December signed into a law a two-year pay freeze for civilian federal workers. Republicans have asked for a longer pay freeze combined with a hiring freeze. Obama's 2012 budget proposed more workers to implement the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory reform effort, among other things.