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The U.S. House passed a bill Wednesday night to freeze the salaries of federal workers and members of Congress.
Federal workers haven't had a pay raise in two years. House Republicans say the federal workforce should go another year without an increase even though President Obama has requested a half percentage point bump in pay.
Democrats say it's a political ploy for Republicans to lump together the pay of for federal workers with legislation blocking a raise for elected officials, because it will look like many Democrats voted for a salary increase.
"I think that every Democrat who has a long history of supporting federal employees will be able to explain easily that this was a ruse and that their constituents will be able to see through it in a mini-second," says D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D).
Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wisc.), the bill's sponsor, denies the bill is a political ploy. He points out that Democrats supported a federal worker pay freeze in the past. Back then, he adds, they were right to exclude military personnel.
"Who they wrongly failed to include in the pay freeze was members of Congress," he says. "They didn't include members of Congress, but every other federal worker they did include."
House Republicans want to use the savings from extending the federal pay freeze to pay for a short term extension of the payroll tax holiday for average workers.