Obama to call for freeze in federal worker pay

Obama to call for freeze in federal worker pay

President Obama is expected Monday morning to propose a two-year freeze of federal civilian pay as part of an effort to reduce deficits, senior White House officials said. 

Obama is expected to make the announcement at 11:30 a.m.

The pay freeze will save about $2 billion for the remainder of fiscal 2011, $28 billion during the next five years and more than $60 billion over the next 10 years, according to the White House. 

"This was a decision that was not made lightly," the White House said in a statement. 

"This freeze is not to punish federal workers or to disrespect the work that they do. It is the first of many actions we will take in the upcoming budget to put our nation on sound fiscal footing, which will ask for some sacrifice from us all."

The pay freeze applies to all civilian federal employees, except military personnel, including those in various alternative pay plans and those working at the Department of Defense. Congress would have to approve the pay freeze.

In the 2011 budget, Obama proposed a three-year freeze in non-security discretionary spending. The White House said it expected that freeze to lower non-security discretionary spending level as a share of the economy to its lowest level in 50 years.

Congressional Republicans have suggested a spending freeze at fiscal 2008 levels. 

When Obama took office he froze salaries for all senior White House officials and, in last year’s budget, proposed extending the freeze to other top political appointees. He also eliminated bonuses for all political appointees, the White House said. 

In addition the president: 

• directed agencies to dispose of excess real estate to save $8 billion during the next two years;

• set a goal of reducing improper payments by $50 billion by the end of 2012; and

• in each of his budgets, has proposed $20 billion in terminations and reductions, across more than 120 programs.

"Ultimately, reining in our deficits will take tough decisions and sacrifices made by us all," the statement said. "We look forward to working with both sides on Capitol Hill over the next several months to forge a commonsense deficit reduction strategy that will rein in our deficits, keep our economy growing and lay the foundation for American competitiveness for years to come."

This story was updated at 11:28 a.m.