tv U.S. House of Representatives 2.6 Pay Increase for Federal Civilian Workers CSPAN January 31, 2019 3:20am-4:24am EST
it. if there is a frontier, we cross it. if there is a challenge, we tame it. if there is an opportunity, we seize it. so let's the game tonight by recognizing that the state of our union is strong, because our people are strong. first state of the union, postponed because of the government shutdown, will take place on tuesday night. watch as president trump delivers his state of the union address live from the house chamber at 9:00 p.m. eastern on c-span, followed by the democratic response from former georgia gubernatorial candidate stacey abrams. state of the union, live tuesday at 9:00 eastern on c-span, www.c-span.org for on the free c-span radio app. yesterday the house passed a bill to raise the wages of
federal workers by 2.6% in 2019. the senate last week approved a 1.9% increase. here is the floor debate on the bill, one hour. you very much, mr. speaker. -- mr. cummings: thank you very much, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. cummings: i'm proud to be an original co-sponsor of h.r. 790, the federal civilian work force pay raise fairness act of 2019. along with my fellow colleagues of the local delegation, i want to say special thanks to chairman connolly and majority leader hoyer for their leadership on this very mportant piece of legislation. h.r. 790, as amended, will authorize a 2.6% pay raise for federal civilian workers for
2019, the same raise that our military service members are receiving this year. historically congress has tried to ensure parity in pay increases between federal civilian employees and military service members. this bill would continue this long-standing tradition. the bill would provide the pay raise to federal employees in the competitive and accept services, blue collar workers, members of the career senior executive service, and employees in the scientific and senior level positions. . the men and women of our civil service deserve the same increase in pay because they endured so much during the last several years. they were subjected, mr. speaker, to repeated and
unrelenting attacks on their pay and on their benefits. they suffered through pay higher hiring freezes, pension costs, and furloughs due to sequestration and government shutdowns. since 2011, federal workers have contributed nearly $200 billion to help reduce our country's deficit and to fund our government programs. these hardworking, dedicated federal workers include the 800,000 employees who were furloughed or forced to work without pay for 35 days during the longest shutdown in our great nation's history. the men and women of our civil service were held hostage to
political dispute over funding for a border wall that the president stated over and over again would be paid for by mexico. there's something wrong with this picture. these include the members of the coast guard, t.s.a. screeners, department of agriculture workers who help farmers and ranchers, f.a.a. air traffic controllers and safety inspectors, f.d.a. food spectors, the f.b.i., e.p.a. pollution inspectors, border patrol agents and secret service agents. given all the hardship the federal employees experience, they deserve a modest pay increase to help make up for , e years of freezes
negligible increases and to help offset the cost of inflation. the pay increase will help the federal government to compete against the private sector to recruit and retain highly qualified candidates who serve the american people. thank you, mr. chairman, and i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from orth carolina is recognized. >> i thank the gentleman and i thank the chairman for his words on the importance of making sure our federal workforce are properly compensated and indeed this is an important subject and i guess, mr. chairman, i guess my question here today is fundamentally, if it's so important, then why haven't we
had a hearing, why haven't we had a markup, why the rush to put this bill on the floor and not too long ago, my good friend from maryland, the chairman of the committee, would be on this same floor arguing the same thing. mr. meadows: why aren't we having a markup, why aren't we going through regular order? mr. chairman, i would remind this body, less than 30 days ago, there was a vote on the house floor that said we're going to return to regular order. we're going to make sure that every bill goes through the committee and has a markup and actually has fair debate and, yet, here we are less than 30 days in to this new congress and we are putting forth a messaging bill that quite frankly has not been vetted. the amendment process is -- has not come out of oversight and
government reform -- excuse me -- oversight and reform. the chairman acknowledges that i am correcting my title here, but i would also say this, and this is no laughing matter. i've been one of the few members on our side of the aisle on this committee that has actively engaged in trying to make sure that our federal workforce is not only properly compensated but properly recognized. mr. chairman, here's my problem. according to federal workers, over 25% of them believe that raises do not happen based on merit, that everyone gets a raise. indeed, this pill does that. says just regardless how you perform, we're going to give everybody the same increase. now, that same federal workforce went even further to say 1/3 of them said we don't
do enough to get rid of the poor performers. so what message are we sending to the federal workforce here today? we're rushing a bill that has not gone through committee. we have not provided meaningful amendments that are actually appropriate, and indeed, we have a federal workforce that says they don't get a raise based on merit -- on the merits of their work, on the hard work they put forth. nd indeed, they're saying -- 1/3 of the employees are getting compensated regardless of their performance. when we look at that, what message does this body send to the federal workforce? it says it doesn't matter what kind of job you do. and i think that's a terrible message to send. i can tell you, mr. chairman, as we looked at this bill -- and i'm sure we'll debate the merits of this particular piece of legislation.
we have the gentleman from virginia, mr. connolly here, the gentleman from maryland, mr. cummings, both members that i respect greatly. and yet, this rush to put this messaging bill on the floor does nothing but damage the underlying support that many of us on both sides of the aisle have for the federal workforce. and so i would strongly object to this particular measure. let's slow it down. let's go through the appropriate time to make sure that indeed we have a markup, that we have a bill. the chairman knows full well that federal workers, not only in and around washington, d.c., but across the nation, deserve our full attention and this deserves a full debate and with that i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from maryland is recognized. mr. cummings: thank you, mr. chairman.
i yield myself such time as i may consume. let me be clear that there are many federal workers who are suffering and who have suffered. and the message that we send to them is we care about them and we know they give their blood, their sweat, and their tears over and over again. and so that's one of the messages we send. but with that, mr. speaker, i would yield to my distinguished colleague, the chairman of our subcommittee on government operations, distinguished gentleman from virginia, mr. connolly, five minutes. the chair: the gentleman from virginia is recognized for five minutes. mr. connolly: thank you, mr. chairman. and i thank my friend, the distinguished new chairman of the committee on oversight and reform. so proud to call him that. and let me just say, i heard the arguments from my friend from north carolina and i know he does care about the federal
employees. but his arguments ring hallow when you support a 35-day shutdown of the federal government. if you believe in regular order, then you never shut down the federal government, nor do you advise the president of the united states to shut down the federal government, nor do you use shutdowns as a tools to get some policy goal achieved. that is never acceptable. it shouldn't be acceptable to washington. it is not seble to the american people. it certainly is not acceptable to the 800,000 federal employees and equal number of federal contract numbers and small business owners who were affected negatively by this shutdown. it's hard to listen to lecture about regular order in the midst of that wreckage. and that's what we're trying to do here. it's not a messaging bill to embarrass anybody. it is a bill to try to begin to restore the integrity of respect and dignity to the men
and women who serve this country. they're called federal employees, and they were innocent victims of political games as if they were pawns, mr. chairman, for a wall. we're just trying to begin the process of making them whole again. i want to thank the majority leader, mr. hoyer, for bringing this bill to the floor. the bill would end the current freeze to federal employees, recommended by president trump, and provide hardworking civil servants with a 2.6% pay increase, matching that for military employees. on the heels of this largest government shutdown in u.s. history and the longest, i believe it's appropriate for the house of representatives to take up this legislation to make a statement in the people's body that we do respect, we do respect the work of our civil servants and our
federal employees, and that we are prepared to provide concrete measures to do that. during the shutdown, some of these individuals reported to work without knowing when or if they would receive their next paycheck while others were willing to work but told they couldn't. even though the federal government has reopened, most federal employees are still waiting to receive that first paycheck. under statute, federal civil employees should have received a 2.1% pay increase for 2019. instead, the recommendation from the white house was zero. this bill represents a pay increase of federal employees above that statutory level equal to an additional .5% over and above the statutory level that would have otherwise been provided. when the house of representatives passed appropriation bills, the senate included a 1.9% increase to
federal employees. the continuing resolution agreed to by the house and senate did not reverse the president's pay freeze. this bill would. historically, congress has tried to insert parity in pay between federal civil employees and military service members. this bill will continue the tradition of pay parity for which i advocated since i came to congress 10 years ago. a federal employee pay increase of 2.6% is in my sense further justified as the distinguished chairman of the committee pointed out by the hardships just suffered and those that suffered over the last 10 years. three pay freezes, hiring freezes, compensation cuts, benefit cuts. federal employees are the only group on the planet that have actually contributed to deficit reduction $200 billion. in nine of the last 10 years, congress has failed to enact an increase in basic pay, consistent with the statute.
not true on the military side. that's why we're trying to have pay parity. in eight of the last 10 years, basic pay increases trailed increases in the cost living itself. i want to point out that the legislation in front of us has been endorsed by the american federation of government employees, national treasury employees union, national federation of federal employees, the american federation of state, county, and municipal employees, the international federation of professional and technical engineers, the national federation of federal employees, senior executive association, federal manager association, national act of and retired federal employees, and i ask unanimous consent that letters of support from these organizations be entered into the record. the chair: that will be covered by general leave. mr. connolly: the bottom line, mr. chairman -- the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. connolly: mr. cummings: i grant the gentleman an additional one minute. the chair: the gentleman has an additional minute. mr. connolly: the bottom line, mr. chairman, is our federal
civil servants are like any other workforce. more than 900,000 of those federal employees earn less than $60,000 a year. they're not rich. they're not living high in the hog. and they deserve and need this adjustment. especially after the longest, most reckless shutdown of the government in american history. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from north carolina is recognized. mehdi khalaji -- mr. meadows: does the gentleman reserve? mr. cummings: i reserve. mr. meadows: thank you, mr. chairman. i recognize the ranking member of the committee, a champion for the american people, my good friend, the gentleman from ohio, mr. jordan, for as much time as he may consume. mr. jordan: i thank the gentleman. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. jordan: i thank the gentleman from north carolina for his hard work in the committee. here are a couple things to
keep in mind. i'm against this bill. the average yearly pay for a government worker is $85,000. c.b.o. did a study. those with college degrees who work in the federal government make 21% more than people with college degrees in the private sector. those without a college degree, 53% more than those in the private sector. so think about what this bill says. think about what it's saying. all those hardworking taxpayers in the private sector, hey, you are already making less, but now you're going to have more of your tax dollars go to pay people who are already making more money than you to get a raise. how's that fair? how's that -- even worse. even worse. think about what the democrats are doing on h.r. 1, their signature legislation. h.r. 1, they're saying to those same people who are already making more money than folks in the private sector, they're saying to those private sector taxpayers, hey, guess what,
we're not only going to give them a raise even though they're already making more than you, we're giving them six paid days to work on campaigns. six vacation days where they get paid to work on campaigns. oh, by the way, they may be helping the very candidate you're against. such a deal. . such a deal for the taxpayers. that's why i'm a no on this. i think about the taxpayers in the 11th district of north carolina, the fourth district of ohio, and all across this country tell me how -- oh, i forgot. there is one more thing the democrats want to do. h.r. 1, they want to make election day a holiday. a paid holiday. for federal employees. this is not where we need to be. this is not respect taxpayers deserve. i urge a no vote. i appreciate the good work congressman meadows is doing on this legislation. frankly, he's right. we probably should have had a hearing. probably should have had a
hearing and talk about this. maybe the democrats didn't want to talk about the fact that people in the private sector are making less with the same kind of education. than those work for the federal government w that -- i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from ohio yields back. the gentleman from north carolina reserves. the gentleman from maryland is recognized. mr. cummings: thank you very much, mr. speaker. i yield the distinguished gentleman from maryland, our majority leader, mr. hoyer, one minute. the chair: the gentleman, the majority leader, is recognized. mr. hoyer: i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. the chair: without objection. mr. hoyer: i am, of course, not shocked that those who wanted to shut down the government and keep it shut are not and have federal employees making nothing. i'm not shocked that they don't want to give the federal employees a cost of living djustment.
a a cost of living adjustment. -- a cost of living adjustment. now, i could spend a lot of time responding to my friend from ohio about the qualifications necessary to run and work at nasa or the f.b.i. or c.d.c. or the very other agencies that require high level of skills to work. and i'm sure my friend from ohio has read the government reports from the council that's charged with the responsibility of determining whether we're paying comparable wages who say, no, we're not. we're substantially under, if you compare apples to apples, educational requirements, skills requirements to the private sector, similar requirement.
he doesn't mention that because the averages sound much better. of course the average salary on the washington nationals team is a a little higher than that. why? because their skill levels are higher than almost anybody else n the country. madam speaker, -- mr. speaker, apologize, i want to thank representative connolly and representative wexton for their hard work. i want to thank my friend, the chairman of the committee. representative connolly has been a a long time advocate of the pay and benefits and retaining a and being able to recruit people who have those kind of skill levels. better be careful. some 30% to 40% of our people
are getting pretty close or at retirement age. they are going to say you keep shutting them down and you keep ot keeping their salary level, unlike our salary which has deteriorated for 10 years. in terms of its purchasing value. but averages are averages. i want to thank my colleagues, mr. connolly in particular has been an outstanding advocate for many federal civilian employees living and working in northern virginia. the national capital region and around the country. let me disclose, i represent 6 ,000 federal employees. -- 62,000 federal employees. you're not shocked that i'm for federal employees. but when i was in the state senate i represented a minuscule amount of state employees. and i was paying them comparable wages so that we
could hire competent, capable, committed people to serve my constituents. this shutdown just showed what kind of pain is caused. do you think those high-price people were in food lines because they want to say i'm in a food line? no, sir. they were there because they were not making enough in the washington metropolitan area, and in other areas around the country, because only less than 20% of the federal employees live in this washington metropolitan area. the pay freeze president trump imposed on federal workers have been detrimental to our ability as a nation to recruit and retain the best and brightest citizens to serve in government. very frankly, abe pollen, a good friend of mine, he owned the washington wizards. he never asked me to play center.
because i have a disability. i'm six feet not seven feet tall. and the people he asked he had to pay a lot of money to because he didn't get them if he didn't. the people running our space program, running n.i.h., they are just not run of the mill people, frankly. like me. they get extraordinary skills. we keep shutting them down. we keep not paying them. you are going to have a second rate government. that's where you're going. you are going to have another opportunity to say shut down is stupid, i hope you join us. it is stupid and cost us $11 billion, according to c.b.o. after five weeks, unnecessary and costly painful shutdown, the american people have been reminded how critical the work our federal employees perform is to our national security and economic security. americans were horrified to learn many civilian federal
employees live paycheck to paycheck. as they do. even a single month's delay of income sent many of them to food pantries and in search of emergency loans. hat isn't right. we have for a long time an agreement, we do parity for our military personnel. as we pay our military should be. but our agreement was, look, we're going to make sure that everybody keeps their pay at pretty much a stable level of purchasing power. that's the key. very frankly some people in this house are not for raising the minimum wage. the minimum wage has eroded 40% n purchasing power since 1968.
federal employee pay will erode in purchasing power if we don't pass this legislation. let's not forget that 85% of federal employees live outside the washington area. some of your districts. even in north carolina. those who work hard to keep our country and its people safe deserve to be paid competitively. this does not bring them to competitive pay. with the private sector, i tell my friends. i'm proud to represent them as i said 6 ,000 of them. -- 62,000 of them. i met many of them over the years. they are wonderful people dedicated to servicing the nation and people of our country. they deserve better than to be treated like pawns in political games with shutdowns and pay freezes. the senate included 1.9%. we included zero over here. not surprising. when you don't respect people.
you don't necessarily have to treat them as you would treat an employee in your own firm. federal civilian employees unlike their counterparts in the military have been asked to contribute $182 billion over the last 10 years in reduced benefits. and pay. $18 billion they contributed to try to bring down our debt. sort of a drop in the bucket when you give yourself $1.5 trillion for some of the wealthiest people in america. you give yourself head room to create $2 trillion additional debt to give some of the wealthiest people in america huge tax cuts. but not 2.6% for federal employees. no, that scientist at nasa or the f.b.i. agent who has a college degree, maybe a law degree, has to figure out what some of the most dangerous people in america and around a
the world are doing. no, not 6% for them. -- 2.6% for them. ladies and gentlemen, we need to make sure pay is keeping pace with the rising cost of living for those who serve this country in civilian roles as well as those in military roles. they are no less deserving of our gratitude and fair compensation. this bill would ensure that civilian federal employees receive the same, the same 2.% that all of you voted for on that side of the aisle. for our military personnel. and i honor our military personnel. we should give them that. we should make sure their purchasing power doesn't erode. by the way, you can can talk to military families who also, from time to time, are in food lines. is that the right way to treat our people who work for our country and our constituents? i urge my colleagues on both
sides of the aisle to join us in supporting this bill. in doing so we can can show the hardworking men and women, unlike we showed for 35 days, that we do have respect for them. that we do care about their morale. that we do care about their ability to support themselves and their families. we can show them that we value their contributions and thank them for their important service. i urge my colleagues at a time of extraordinary trauma among our federal employees that we should show them the gratitude and respect that they have earned and that they deserve. i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields his time back. mr. cummings: i reserve. the chair: the gentleman from maryland reserves. members are reminded to address their remarks to the chair. the gentleman from north
carolina is recognized. mr. meadows: mr. chairman, i'm glad that you made this admonishment because some of the comments that were just offered actually seemed to be directed at me from a standpoint of respect and i would remind the gentleman from maryland, both gentlemen from maryland, that this is one of the individuals who has actually worked in a bipartisan fashion on t.p.s. and a number of things. andle majority leader knows that well. i would also -- and the majority leader knows that well. i would also say if he we make broad sweeping statements that impugn the motives of individuals, it needs to start with the previous president of the united states, bram. because when he -- barack obama. because when he froze the federal work force, three different times, i didn't hear the outrage on this house floor, mr. chairman. i'm hearing today. it somehow always one side of the aisle's fault unless it happens to be their party's president that invokes the freeze. i would say, mr. chairman, we
need to make sure that those broad brush characterizations are not conveyed here on the house floor. with that i would -- respectfully i would. mr. hoyer: i thank you very much. you make a a good point. -- you make a good point. when president obama became president. we were in a deef trough as the gentleman remembers. it was january of 2009. we sat around the cabinet table. i was the majority leader then as well. and i said, federal employees ought to get no cost of living adjustment, mr. president. the country is in a deep trough. many people are hurting in this country. and we should not have a cola adjustment this year. and i supported it the second year of not having a cola adjustment because we were still -- you will not find any record of me standing on this
floor saying that we ought to give federal employees a cola while so many people in the country were struggling without a a job, losing their jobs. i just wanted to tell the gentleman when the democrat was president of the united states, i told the federal unions, all of whom supported me, look, the country is in trouble. but we're not in trouble now. the president talks about what a great economy we have. what low unemployment. we have. mr. meadows: reclaiming my time. mr. hoyer: now i think is the time to give them that raise. thank you. i appreciate the gentleman for yielding. mr. meadows: i want to make sure, mr. chairman, we correct the record. because the gentleman is correct in 2009 and 2010, but we gave them raises in 2010. federal pay freezes were 2011, 2012, and 2013 when the same president was saying everything was going fine. and so i want to remind the gentleman that if we're going to look at history, i think to
use your words, let's not use revisionist history --. mr. chairman, i'm going to direct it to you. the gentleman making the argument today was not on the house floor talking about how evil the president was and how he should not be doing. that i want to correct the record here today and with that i'll recognize the gentleman from ohio for as much time as he may consume. the chair: the gentleman from ohio is recognized. >> i thank the chair. i have the utmost respect for the majority leader. in his comments he said the shutdown is painful and stupid. no one wants a shutdown. but i'll tell you what's stupid. mr. jordan: what's stupid is a southern border that's not secure. what's painful -- look. i feel for the federal employees who missed a paycheck. we don't want any family to have to go through. that i understand that. but i also -- through that. i understand that. but i also understand the pain that some families across this
country have suffered. particularly when they lose a loved one because an illegal immigrant is here and did -- took the life of someone they care deeply about. and this shutdown would have never happened if the democrats would have voted for what they were for before, what they had already supported. but, no, no, no. they're so focused on stopping the president, they can't get focused on helping the country. everyone knows we need -- everybody knows we need a border security wall. all you have to do is watch the caravan phenomena over the last several months. there's another one forming. until we get -- until we understand this, excuse me, and are willing to deal with the problem, we can keep having thee debates, but -- having these debates, but i wish democrats would support what they did previously. support money for the border security wall that everybody knows needs to happen. that's the real problem here. i thank the gentleman for yielding. mr. meadows: i reserve. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his
time. the gentleman from maryland is recognized. mr. cummings: i yield myself such time as i may um. let me make it clear, mr. speaker -- consume. let me make it clear, mr. speaker, this is not about a border wall. this is about building people and allowing them to sustain themselves. i now grant three minutes to the very distinguished leader of our caucus from new york, congressman jeffries. the chair: the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. jeffries: i thank the distinguished chairman for yielding and for his tremendous leadership on behalf of the hardworking federal employees who serve this nation in such a tremendous fashion. i rise today in strong support of this legislation which will provide a modest and well deserved cost of living increase for the federal work force. for 35 days this administration recklessly shut down the government so it could try to
fund a campaign applause line. for 35 years, this this stration, 35 days, administration shut down the government and held hardworking employees hostage. using them like bargaining chips. from a bankrupt casino. r 35 days, hundreds of thousands of federal employees were furloughed, putting their well-being in jeopardy. of the ays, members coast guard, air traffic controllers, t.s.a. agents, f.b.i. agents, border patrol agents, secret service agents and so many others were forced to work without pay in the
wealthiest country in the history of the world. for 35 days these hardworking federal employees across the country, in the north, the south, the east and the west, stepped up for us. now it's time for this congress to step up for them. over last two years, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have spent their time working on behalf of the wealthy, the well-off and the well-connected. that's the only way that you can explain jamming a reckless tax scam down the throats of the american people where 83% of the benefits went to the wealthiest 1%. house democrats will spend our time fighting for working families, middle class folks, senior citizens, the poor, the sick and the afflicted, veterans from all across this country, many of whom, by the way, are part of the federal work force. we're going to continue to stand
up for them. we promised the american people that we would increase pay for everyday americans, keeping that promise begins today. day after day, week after week, month after month, we will continue to do everything possible as we fight hard for the people. i strongly support this legislation and urge my colleagues to do the same. i thank the distinguished chair and this wonderful committee for their great work. mr. cummings: i reserve. the chair: the gentleman from north carolina is recognized. mr. meadows: may i inquire as to how much time we have remaining? the chair: the gentleman from north carolina has 18 1/2 minutes remaining. the gentleman from maryland has 15 minutes. -- 15 1/2 minutes. mr. meadows: mr. chairman, i would just -- before i make some
statements, i would notify the gentleman from maryland, my good friend, mr. cummings, that we have no additional speakers on this particular topic. so i'm prepared to close at any time. -- he at any time he would like to do. so but i'll continue to reserve the balance of my time based on the speakers you might have. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from maryland is recognized. mr. cummings: thank you very much, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. let me say this, mr. speaker. yesterday, mr. speaker, we had our organizational meeting and i de it clear that the distinguished gentleman from a th carolina has been truly person who has worked very hard in a bipartisan way, trying to come up with commonsense resolutions. and so i in no way want him to feel that he's being -- that that's not being recognized.
and we appreciate it. it's just that we have a lot of mployees who aren't making those very high salaries. they're the ones that are living from paycheck to paycheck. but, mr. speaker, one of the saddest parts is when they go that paycheck to paycheck, it's almost like no check. because when they look at their bills, the bills are so much higher than their pay. and all we're trying to do is make sure that they keep up with the costs of living. and so with that, mr. speaker, i want to yield to the distinguished chairman of our committee on national security, mr. lynch, two minutes. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. lynch: thank you, mr. chairman. i thank the gentleman for yielding. i do agree that the gentleman from north carolina, mr.
meadows, has tried mightily to work with us on various issues. he's not a bad man. he's just wrong on this one issue. in my opinion. first of all, i rise in support of this very, very modest cost of living increase for federal workers. you know, my wife has a habit of reminding me from time to time. she says, you know, when we first met, you were an iron worker. then you went to law school, became a lawyer. she says, then you ran for office and became a politician. she says, you know, it's been one disappointment after another. but i want to say, as an iron worker, i was in a much better position than our federal workers. when i was an iron worker, and i eventualy -- eventually became president of the union, if my the as unsafe, or if employer refused to pay my workers, as a union president, i would pull my men and women off the job.
we changed that law for federal workers. everybody in the federal government. we said, ironically, these jobs are so important that we can't have the government shut down. we can't have the government shut down. so, even though we have a president now in the white house who not only shut the job down, forced the workers to work without pay, and then, that was on the 22nd of december, on the 28th of december, he signs an executive order that says, no pay for all of 2019 for our federal workers. i want to point out that the t.s.a. workers that we walk by at least twice a week as we come and go from washington, their base starting salary is $28,000 a year. $28,000 a year. i made more money than that when i was an apprentice boy for the
iron workers back in 1972. $28,000 a year. this would represent a $27 a week cost of living adjustment for those workers. may i have another 30 seconds? mr. cummings: i grant the gentleman another minute. mr. lynch: i thank the chairman. look, in taft hartley we said, as the government we were taking away the right of workers to strike. you know, as an iron worker, i could put my tools down if i thought it was unsafe or if somebody cut my pay. we don't allow federal workers to do that. i'm saying that this president has broken that covenant of treating our workers with respect. and i think it is only fair that we consider giving back the right to strike to our federal workers. let them stand up for themselves and protest like we give every other human being in our society. give them the right to protest, give them the right to strike,
if we're not going to treat them right. i think unfortunately we've come to this point. and i certainly want to urge my colleagues to vote in favor of this very modest cost of living adjustment on behalf of our federal workers. and i yield back. thank you, mr. chairman. mr. cummings: i now yield two minutes -- unless the gentleman -- mr. meadows: i'll -- go ahead, i reserve. mr. cummings: thank you very much. mr. speaker, i yield to the distinguished gentlelady from the district of columbia, congresswoman eleanor mahomes norton, two minutes -- holmes norton, two minutes. the chair: the gentlewoman is ecognized. ms. norton: i thank my good friend, the chairman, the new chairman of our committee, for yielding to me. mr. chairman, this tiny -- i'll
call it modest -- 2.6% pay raise authorized by h.r. 790 does not egin to make up for the long overdupay rolls -- pay raise of federal workers -- overdue pay raise of federal workers. it does not begin to make up for the puney raises, sometimes as low as 1%, sometimes no raise at federal workers have had to bear. and it certainly does not make no pay for theof longest shutdown in american history. it is particularly unconscionable to follow the trump shutdown with a trump pay freeze.
every member in this house represents federal workers. every member should be on this floor speaking for them. for years congress recognized pay increase equity between civilian and military personnel. but perhaps with the disparagement of federal workers by republicans and republican presidents, and perhaps to save oney, we no longer even try to bring together these two parts of our work force. . 's hard to justify manyxample, what about the who work side by side, such as the civil servants who guard our
borders, who are hardly -- could i have another minute? mr. cummings: one minute. ms. norton: who are hardly different from the soldiers who do the same thing around the country. the 2.6% pay raise proposed here does not begin to make up for difference ge between federal and private sector employees who do the same work, according to the council that measures this work every year. but for now, after 35 days of no y, now is the time to try to insinuate some fairness into pay for federal workers, with this modest 2% pay raise. i yield back the balance of my time. .
the chair: the gentleman from north carolina is recognized. mr. meadows: we her a a lot of discussion today on what is reasonable -- we hear a lot of discussion today on what is reasonable and small amounts. the pay raise they are talking about is about $5.5 billion a year, or $55 billion over 10. actually c.b.o. would probably score higher than that, robably $60 billion over 10. this could have been solved with a compromise between 035e7b $5.7 billion for a wall. it is an extreme amount of money when we're talking about securing families, securing our borders, it was a price too high to pay now all of a sudden it's not too high a price to pay because it's a small amount f money? i fail to see the logic f we're really talking about compromise, where was the compromise over the last 35
days? there was zero money for a wall on day one. zero money for a wall on day 35. yet here today we're talking about $5 billion, $6 billion as if it were pocket change. i find that interesting, mr. chairman, because as we look at this particular issue, the american people -- my friends on the opposite side of the aisle would have the american people think that it is only the republicans that are totally responsible for everything. yet we know that history shows when there was a democrat in the white house, that indeed there was a pay freeze. three different years. we also know that there was two votes during the economic and and ial meltdown in 2008 2009 where they gave federal workers a 3% increase while everybody else was out looking for a job. where's the parity in that?
the last question i would have for you, mr. chairman, is this, where is the parity when we look at our military men and women's faces when we start talking about 2.6 and they are getting the same amount. they are not getting the same amount. talking to chief master sergeant who has been on the job for 15 years. he's getting far less pay than the federal worker that is getting the same increase. when you have over 25% of the federal work force making over $100,000 a year, we hear all of these statistics that are low statistics. but let's be honest in our debate when we look at what we have. if this is the small amount of money, i guess i would challenge my colleague to the opposite side, let's find compromise onboarder security measures. what amount of money is proper to save families from losing loved ones? i have looked in the faces of angel moms. and angel dads where they have
lost their kids. are we going to just turn our back on them as well? perhaps there is a spirit of compromise here where we can work together and find a compromise where there are no more shutdowns. let's look at passing a bill that freezes congressional pay. if there is a shutdown. i'm all in. are all the democrats in? let's look at it, mr. chairman, with that i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from north carolina reserves. the gentleman from maryland is recognized. mr. cummings: i yield myself such time as i may consume. oday we're zeroing in on federal workers. average pay $60,000. e're zeroing in on folks who in many instances barely making it. and i don't want us to get it twisted. we have a situation where -- a
lot of times we discuss a whole lot of other things, but don't necessarily concentrate on the subject matter at hand. yesterday, mr. speaker, in our committee, we had a lady who came in and told us that her daughter died. she died because she couldn't o $333 worth of insulin month. that's happening in america. what is my point? these dollars mean a lot to these federal employees. i'm not going to pit our military against our civilian employees. they are all very important. i want them all to be well paid. right now we need to concentrate on, again, building people and making a difference in their lives. and speaking of building people, mr. speaker, i now yield to the distinguished
lady, co-sponsor of this bill from virginia, ms. wexton. two minutes. the chair: the gentlewoman is recognized. ms. wexton: thank you, mr. speaker. thank you, mr. chairman. thank you to my colleague, gerry connolly, for your strong leadership on this important issue. i rise in strong support of house resolution 790 and in strong support of a long overdue cost of living increase for federal civil servants. many will remember the president's callus executive order of december 30, right in the middle of the shutdown, freezing federal worker salaries while hundreds of thousands of them were furloughed or worse, working without pay. federal employees are not the swamp, as some would have you believe. federal employees are people who make sure that social security checks are mailed on time each month. they are the scientists researching cures for cancer. they are tour guides in our
national parks. f.b.i. agents investigating criminal activity. and they are the air traffic controllers and t.s.a. agents keeping us safe when we fly. we saw during the shutdown how important every dollar of every paycheck is for federal employees to pay their bills, to pay their rent, mortgage, to afford childcare. to pay off their student loans, and, yes, even to feed their families. it's time to give federal employees the pay raise and the respect they deserve. i urge my colleagues to support this legislation. thank you. i yield back. the chair: members are reminded to refrain from engaging in personalities toward the president. the gentleman from north carolina. mr. meadows: is the gentleman from maryland prepared to close? mr. cummings: yes. mr. meadows: thank you, mr. chairman. i will go ahead and close if
the gentleman is prepared to close and has no further witnesses. he's shaking his head no. mr. cummings: we're prepared to close. mr. meadows: thank you, mr. chairman. let me close by saying a sincere word of compliment to the gentleman from maryland, mr. cummings, and the gentleman from virginia, mr. connolly. we have great differences on this piece of legislation, and indeed we represent very different districts. but it has been said many times that you can disagree without being disagreeable. i want to compliment the two gentlemen for their vigorous debate today, but where they didn't make personal attacks. i hope that, mr. chairman, they have seen the same from me and i have high respect for both of them. i also believe that at times
where perhaps we dehe can can late the emotions, and i know this is a highly charged emotional debate, as it should be, when we de-escalate that, we can can find common ground. mr. chairman, i commit to the two gentlemen that i have had the privilege of working with for the last six years i will continue to work hard and with great resolve to find ways that we cannot only recognize and compensate our federal workers, but we can do so in a man aer that is fair and equitable and certainly make sure that the servants they are is recognized. mr. chairman, i would also say that this particular piece of will tion hopefully provide fodder for us going back to the committee and going through a a markup process to look at how we actually address
this. where we actually have hearings and bring in experts. because, mr. chairman, we have had the majority leader of the congress on this house floor, citing one particular survey. we have had me here citing the c.b.o. those two statistics are at odds. i think it is important that we hear from real experts and figure out how we do this. the time is now for us to find a way to work in a bipartisan manner, to truly move this country forward. the federal work force is an important part of that. i believe this particular piece of legislation sends a bad message to those federal workers who believe that pay raises are not based on merit. that they don't identify the poor performers we have to address that as well, mr. chairman. and so i urge rejection of this
bill and i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from maryland is recognized. mr. cummings: may i ask, mr. speaker, how much time i have? the chair: the gentleman has five minutes remaining. mr. cummings: thank you very much, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. mr. speaker, i would like to insert into the record an article from the wall street post that -- "washington post" reports that the federal salary council, the official monitor of federal pay, found that federal workers make an average of 30% less than their private sector counterparts. the chair: the gentleman's request will be by general leave. mr. cummings: thank you very much. so important t is that we do everything in our power to support our federal employees. and i want to thank mr.
. nnolly and mr. hoyer they have given their blood, their sweat, and their tears for federal employees. constantly standing up for them , trying to make sure that they are treated fairly and given their due. just today i spoke to two people who were telling me employees at al n.i.h. that basically saved their lives. saved their lives. and that they told me that -- one told me that the person who saved their life was making about $65,000. a doctor. come on, now. and the other said it was about maybe 70 at best.
these are the people that could have been doing other things. could have been making a a lot of money. but they decided to give their fforts to a greater cause. their names will probably never appear on the front page or any page of the "washington post." they won't be on abc news. they will not have the mansions they could have gotten, but they have done something that would have fed their souls. they have come to the job with passion. compassion, and desire to make things better. they are the ones that have determined that they want to put their fingerprints on the future of generations yet
unborn. and then there are the others, like the t.s.a. workers, you now the ones, the ones earning $28,000 a year. and coming to work, by the way, during the shutdown, when they couldn't even afford the gas to get there. what about them? so we can make an example out of example out of example, but one thing is for sure. that they are working hard. and they deserve our utmost support. if any message is going to be sent today, i pray, mr. speaker, that that message goes to our federal employees that we care about them. and that they are not unseen, unnoticed, preeshitied, and
unapplauded. no. they are -- unaa appreciated, and unapplauded. in. they are, i hope the message goes out that we're holding them and we'llize it's not about them. -- we realize it's not about them. we realize when they don't get their raise, feament doesn't get their raise. when they don't get that raise maybe that little girl they wanted to send to ballet lessons can't get them. we get that. or maybe that little vacation that they wanted to take, they can't get that. they are not trying to get to disney world. they are trying to get to the nearest amusement park with some tuna fish and crackers. come on, now. and that's what this is all about. we can talk about fences all we want. but right now we're talking about making people's lives the best they can be. we only have one life to live. this is no dress rehearsal and this is that life.
and i do, i applaud the gentleman from north carolina. i know his heart is right. but right now i want to concentrate on those folks, the ones like the people that live in my block, get up at 5:00 in the morning, catch the early bus. to get to social security and places, trying to serve the public. talking about them. so with that, mr. speaker, i yield back and i pray and i ask members to vote in favor of this great legislation from mr. connolly, mr. hoyer, mr. wexler, and all of our >> the house later voted in favor of the 2.6% raise and the bill now moves on to the senate. the house also debated a measure condemning government shutdowns. majority and minority leader steny hoyer and kevin