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

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office 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.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs