The House is expected to pass a bill by freshman Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., which would extend a federal pay freeze first enacted in 2011. The legislation is intended to override an executive order would have raised federal salaries by 0.5% in March.
“These pay raises are not merit-based and apply to bureaucrats whose total compensation averages 16% more than their private sector counterparts,” explained DeSantis in an op-ed for The Hill. He also claimed that his law would save taxpayers an estimated $11 billion.
According to the Bureau for Labor Statistics, annual mean wage for a federal employee in 2011 was $70,100, though some federal employees make as little as $26,360. However, the Republican-controlled House Oversight and Government Reform Committee says [PDF] the figure in 2012 was closer to $72,714 “during the so-called pay freeze,” due to other types of salary increases such as merit pay. By contrast, the median household income overall between 2007 and 2011 was $52,762.
The law would also freeze Congressional salaries, which are currently set at $174,000 per year [PDF].
Though median federal employee salary is higher than median household income overall, the CBO reports [PDF] that average compensation for a federal employee with a Bachelors Degree is roughly equal to that a private sector employee with a Bachelors Degree. Federal employees with even higher degrees of educational attainment would likely earn more in the private sector, though those workers with Masters Degrees and Bachelors Degrees still earn more in benefits on top of their base pay.