News / USA

Obama Proposes Civilian Pay Freeze to Help Tackle Federal Deficit

President Barack Obama delivers a statement to members of the media in the in the Old Executive Office Building, on the White House campus in Washington, Nov. 29, 2010
President Barack Obama delivers a statement to members of the media in the in the Old Executive Office Building, on the White House campus in Washington, Nov. 29, 2010

Multimedia

Audio

President Barack Obama said he will seek a two-year freeze of the salaries of civilian U.S. federal workers, saying the step is necessary to deal with the federal deficit and to control government spending.

The White House estimates the proposed freeze would save $2 billion in the current fiscal year and $28 billion during the next five years, with a savings impact increasing to $60 billion over the next decade.

In announcing the proposed pay freeze, President Obama referenced the $1.3 trillion federal spending deficit he inherited from his predecessor, Republican George W. Bush.

Saying that steps he has taken so far for economic recovery have produced 10 months of private-sector job growth, Obama said more needs to be done. H described the federal civilian pay freeze as one of a series of steps needed to put the United States on a more stable economic course.

"Getting this deficit under control is going to require some broad sacrifice, and that sacrifice must be shared by the employees of the federal government."

Aside from the proposed pay freeze, the clearest message from Mr. Obama was about politics in Washington, and the question of whether he and opposition Republicans can find enough common ground to avoid governmental gridlock.

In mid-term congressional elections this month, the Republican Party won a majority control of the U.S. House of Representatives. On Tuesday, Republican congressional leaders are due to sit down with the president at the White House.

Referring to what he called tough decisions put off for a long time, Obama said political leaders in Washington will have to compromise.

"We face challenges that will require the cooperation of Democrats, Republicans and Independents. Everybody is going to have to cooperate. We cannot afford to fall back on to the same old ideologies or the same stale sound bites. We are going to have to budget on some deeply-held positions and compromise for the good of the country."

In Capitol Hill reaction, Democratic House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said the pay freeze should have been shared between civilian and military personnel. Ohio Representative John Boehner, who will be the new House Speaker in the new Congress convening in January, welcomed the step, saying Republicans also had proposed a net freeze on federal hiring.

Deficit reduction is not the only issue on the table when Obama sits down Tuesday with congressional leaders. He also is seeking Senate ratification of the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia in the face of resistance from at least one Senate Republican. He hopes to accomplish this in the current end-of-year congressional session.

The president said he hopes Tuesday's meeting with Republican leaders will mark what he called a first step toward a new and productive working relationship. It would be unwise to assume, Mr. Obama added, that the main lesson from the mid-term congressional elections is that Americans prefer one way of thinking over another.

You May Like

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid