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

Multimedia US Defense Secretary: Iraqi Forces Lack 'Will to Fight'

Ash Carter criticizes Iraq's reaction to Islamic State; National Security Advisor Susan Rice echoed Carter's concerns in an interview on CBS More

Boko Haram Surrounds Havens With Land Mines

Chad and Cameroon say huge numbers of land mines planted by Boko Haram fighters along Cameroon's border with Nigeria are a danger to people, livestock and soldiers More

Women Peace Activists Cross Korean DMZ

Governments of Koreas give international delegation of women peace activists permission to pass through heavily fortified border, but some critics say symbolic crossing only benefits Pyongyang 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs