Yesterday the House approved a bill (H.R. 3835) that would freeze salaries for federal civilian employees and members of Congress for FY2013.  The bill sponsored by Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) passed the House 309-117, garnering roughly 20 more votes than the two-thirds required for passage.  In the final vote, 72 Democrats joined 237 Republicans in voting for the bill.

Supporters of the bill pointed to the recommendation for a three-year civilian pay freeze by the President’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility.  Detractors of the bill argued that action on federal civilian pay raises should be delinked from that on members of Congress.  Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) introduced an alternative bill that would only freeze congressional pay, but the bill was not considered on the floor.

The freeze, if also approved by the Senate and signed by the president, would mark the 3rd consecutive year federal civilian salaries have been frozen.  It has been widely reported that the president’s FY2013 budget request will include a 0.5 percent civilian pay raise.

Senate approval of the bill in the Democrat-controlled Senate is uncertain.  Including a congressional pay freeze may make it difficult for some Senate Democrat’s to cast a no vote because it may be perceived as supporting a congressional pay raise.

The bill does not address any change in military pay raises for FY2013.