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Federal Employees News Digest : March 25, 2013
Phil Piemonte, Managing Editor E-mail: email@example.com What's Inside44 March 25, 2013 • Vol. 62, No. 34 Labor pushes lower contractor cap as sequester remedy Federal employee unions are leveraging the sequestration crisis to turn up the heat on Congress to pass legislation that would drastically reduce the top annual pay limit for federal contractors. As agencies wrestle with across-the-board bud- get cuts, labor leaders are speaking out to highlight what they characterize as an example of extreme waste---the current $765,000 contractor salary cap at the Department of Defense. Recent legislation backed by federal employee unions would impose a cap of $230,700---a reduc- tion of more than 70 percent. In this instance, the reduced salary cap proposal was offered as an amendment to H.R. 933---the fiscal 2013 continu- ing resolution. That amendment was written to apply only to DOD contractors, directly reflecting similar terms found in S. 3254, the Senate Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2013. Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) co-sponsored the proposal, which they introduced in the closing weeks of 2012. Cost-saving measure The president of the National Treasury Employees Union, Colleen Kelley, attacked the current salary cap, saying in a union release that "there is no valid reason for such outrageous pay." "Particularly," Kelley added, "with sequestration resulting in furloughs of federal employees and cuts to vital government services." Kelley characterized a lower cap as a serious cost-savings measure, one directly relevant for possible use as a remedy to the sequester. "NTEU believes that while millions of Americans continue to struggle to make ends meet and are seeing little or no increase in their take-home pay," she said. "Taxpayers should not be required to foot the bill for the exorbitant salaries of private contractors that exceed the salary of the vice president of the United States." A NTEU news release pointed out that at $760,000, the salary cap is double what it was in 1998. Other unions concur that the time has come. "We strongly support a proposal to cap tax- payer subsidies to contractors at $230,000," John Threlkeld, legislative representative for the American Federation of Government Employees, told FEND. "Particularly given that pay for work- ing- and middle-class federal employees will have been frozen for three consecutive years." "A cap of $230,000 would greatly reduce costs to taxpayers," Threlkeld continued. "Although the precise impact of a $230,000 cap has not been measured, experts determined that a gov- ernment-wide cap of $200,000 would save $50 billion over 10 years." "The Army determined that a $400,000 cap just on the Army would save $6 billion in just one year," Threlkeld added. Wide push for passage NTEU and AFGE have been pressing for reforms in federal contracting practices for years---including seeking a lower cap on the highest contractor salaries. "There are a wide variety of labor and public interest [groups] and think tanks that support a much lower cap," Threlkeld told FEND. "The latest effort was to include a cap in the FY13 continuing resolution, but that effort was ulti- mately unsuccessful." "[A lower cap] is not going to happen in the continuing resolution vote," Threlkeld Punch drunk Here in D.C., the home of lob- byists, lawyers, journalists, politi- cians and pointy- headed bureau- crats, we are a city of fighters. If you doubt it, listen to us. We are fighting fools. People here are always fighting to change something. Or fighting to keep it. They always point out that they are doing it for us, citizens, taxpayers and voters. We are the only ones they care about. And they fight for us night and day. There is one group that puts up posters (I have two in my office) that say: FIGHTING FOR NON-VIOLENCE. You get violent, they clock you. Although our fighters come in all shapes and sizes, they all have one thing in common: Their weapon of choice, which is the mouth. The voice box, backed sometimes (but not always) by their brain. These are voice box warriors. When they say fight, they mean talk. And some of them are very strange ducks, indeed. Politicians here fight for causes, fight against things, fight to protect the environment, and for other spe- cial interests. Increasingly they fight INSIGHT BY MIKE CAUSEY continued on page 2 For more news...see Federal Daily at www.FederalDaily.com • 'Reinvention' could backfire 3 • New FBI site touted 3 • In Brief 4 • Legal Matters 5 • Informed Investor 7 • Federal Benefits Q&A 8 continued on page 3
March 18, 2013
April 1, 2013