President Obama’s proposal to freeze federal employees’ pay doesn’t go far enough, according to Rep. Jason Chaffetz.
Under Obama’s idea, federal employees will still get about $2.5 billion in regularly scheduled increases. Chaffetz wants Congress to pass a bill to freeze those “step increases” as well. Chaffetz tells Federal Times that Obama’s plan is “full of holes.”
"The reality is, it's going to be more expensive to taxpayers than it was before," Chaffetz said. "If it costs more money, it isn't a freeze."
The White House said Obama's freeze proposal would save $5 billion in its first two years and $28 billion in the first five years.
Chaffetz said he may himself introduce a bill that would cancel step increases and could also prescribe limits or cuts to the size of the federal work force. He said that bill could come next year, after Republicans take control of the House, but he did not have more specific plans.
"We were serious about a pay freeze," Chaffetz said. "It didn't take but a couple of days to figure out how to get around [Obama's freeze]. We have too many people making too much money, and we have to figure out how to do more with less."
Critics say Chaffetz’ idea would basically require a change in the law as those step increases are a statutory right.
Chaffetz says he wants Congress to set budget limits for government agencies and then let those agencies manage staffing and pay issues.