Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-11-Va.) calls for an end to Trump’s government shutdown, flanked by other lawmakers. Connolly’s bill to give public servants a pay raise was unsuccessfully opposed by Rep. Francis Rooney (R-19-Fla.). (Photo: Office of Rep. Gerald Connolly)
343 days since Rep. Francis Rooney has appeared in an open, public forum
Jan. 30, 2019 by David Silverberg
Updated with vote count, Jan. 31, 12:00 pm
After two pay periods in which federal workers were denied paychecks due to President Donald Trump’s shutdown of the federal government, Rep. Francis Rooney (R-19-Fla.) has voted to also deny them an annual raise.
On Wednesday, Jan. 30, Rooney voted against House Resolution 790, the Federal Civilian Workforce Pay Raise Fairness Act of 2019.
The bill overturns an Executive Order issued by President Trump freezing federal pay at 2018 levels. Instead, it gives federal employees a 2.6 percent pay raise in 2019, equaling that given to military personnel.
Despite Rooney’s opposition, the bill passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 259 to 161.
The bill was introduced in the House by Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-11-Va.).
“On the heels of the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, I believe it is appropriate for the House of Representatives to take up legislation to show federal employees that we in Congress appreciate the work that they do and the sacrifices they make,” Connolly said on the House Floor. “This bill is a down payment on treating our federal workforce with the respect it deserves.”
Rooney objected to the pay raise as not being based on merit.
“In business, raises are based on performance, not simply showing up to a job where you are already overpaid. As recently as 2017, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that federal employees received 17 percent more in total compensation than comparable workers in the private sector. Last year the Republican-led Congress did increase pay for members of the military – a well-deserved raise for those men and women that risk their lives to protect and defend our nation. The bloated federal government bureaucracy needs to shrink, not receive more money.”
Rooney has denigrated public service before. In a May 30, 2018 appearance before an invited audience at The Alamo gun range and store in Naples, Rooney argued that providing scholarships for students who wish to go into public service “is like paying people to fight against us”—“us” being extreme right-wing conservatives.
In arguing for his bill, Connolly stated: “This modest pay increase is justified by the hardships federal employees have suffered in recent years. Since 2011, federal employees have contributed nearly $200 billion to deficit reduction. They have had to endure government shutdowns – including the longest one in U.S. history – pay freezes, hiring freezes, and lost pay as a result of sequestration-related furloughs. In nine of the last ten years, Congress has failed to enact an increase to basic pay for federal employees that matches or exceeds the amount called for in statute. In eight of the last ten years, basic pay increases have trailed increases in the cost of living.”
Public service unions supporting the bill included the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE), the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE), National Active and Retired Federal Employees (NARFE), Senior Executives Association (SEA) and the Federal Managers Association.
A companion bill, Senate 262, has been introduced by Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).
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