In February 2010, the White House proposed a General Schedule pay raise of 1.4 percent for federal civilian employees, effective in 2011. However, in April 2010, the Senate voted to freeze the pay for the members of Congress. They unanimously voted against the $1,600 pay raise that Congress members were scheduled to get the next year.
The federal pay freeze proposal was defeated on June 18 when the Senate rejected it due to the size of the workforce. The chamber also dismissed an amendment by Senator John Thune (R-SD) which was aimed at paying for a tax and jobs bill by dropping federal bonuses and the 2011 pay raise.
Senator Thune defended his proposed amendment, stating, “The alternative amendment I proposed was a common sense step toward restoring fiscal sanity to our nation’s runaway spending and ballooning deficit.” He further added that “the defeat of my amendment was a missed opportunity for Congress to prove they are serious about tackling our dangerous spending habits and $13 trillion national debt. This amendment would have lowered taxes for families and small businesses as they struggle through these challenging times.”
Senator Ted Kaufman (D-Del), argued that the Republicans were using incorrect information regarding federal pay and bonuses; he stated, “Over the years, as I’ve witnessed countless acts of personal courage, devotion to country and real sacrifice” by federal employees, but “I have also seen and heard such disheartening and baseless attacks against those who choose to serve. The pending amendment is just the latest assault”.