RUSH: So Obama is now gonna ask for a federal pay freeze for two whole years. He's gonna save $2 billion. I mean, big whoop. (interruption) Twenty-eight billion? Yeah, if it lasts that long, that's my point, $28 billion, big whoop. Twenty-eight billion and he's got a deficit run up of one and a half trillion. Twenty-eight billion, we're supposed to be impressed by this? Sorry, not me. Especially since he's locking in pay raises for people, essentially pay raises for all these new hires. If I were one of these new hires and there's all this attention being paid to how bloated the workforce is getting and all of a sudden the president just announces, in effect, not a pay freeze but a guaranteed salary for whoever knows how many years I'd be celebrating. Obama's just hired all these new people and locked 'em in and now he's out there presenting this as some kind of great economic savings day with a two-year pay freeze.
Here's the article from the Wall Street Journal
Obama Proposes Freeze on Federal-Worker Pay
WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama on Monday proposed a two-year salary freeze for all federal civilian employees, ahead of negotiations with Congress on deficit-cutting that are likely to dominate Washington next year.
The freeze, which would require congressional approval, would affect about two million workers and cover calendar years 2011 and 2012.
President Barack Obama proposes a two-year civilian pay freeze for federal employees, saying getting the deficit under control will require "broad sacrifices."
PM Report: Panel's Tough Medicine on Spending
News Hub: New Deficit-Reduction Plan Targets Taxes
What, Me Worry About the Deficit?
.Mr. Obama made it clear his gesture was supposed to kick off negotiations on deficit-cutting that would require political sacrifices on the part of Republicans and Democrats. He called on both parties to "set aside the politics of the moment to make progress for the long term."
"My hope is that starting today we can begin a bipartisan conversation about our future," the president said in comments to reporters. "Everybody's going to have to cooperate."
Though in effect for two years, the proposed freeze would save $28 billion over five years and more than $60 billion over 10 years as the government pockets savings from a lower wage base for its civilian work force, said Jeffrey Zients, deputy White House budget director for management.
Deficit Panel Cancels Public Meeting
.Workers were due to have a 1.4% pay raise in 2011. Federal wages generally rise each year in step with inflation, though Congress often makes adjustments.
Some conservatives have been attacking the federal work force as overpaid, but Mr. Obama did not join in. He hailed those whose pay he would freeze as the men and women who protect the nation's borders and airports, guard federal prisons, maintain national parks and make sure Social Security checks go out on time.
"Clearly this is a difficult decision," Mr. Zients said, lauding federal workers as dedicated civil servants. "The president is clearly asking them to make a sacrifice."
The White House had to make the announcement ahead of Tuesday's statutory deadline for White House notification to Congress of different pay rates for different localities where federal workers are employed.
Republicans, who will take control of the House next year, have been calling for such a freeze for months. Some also have called for unpaid furloughs, which would effectively cut federal salaries.
Mr. Obama decided to move in advance of a bipartisan meeting Tuesday of the White House and congressional leadership, where both sides hope to make progress on key budget issues. Those include the fate of tax cuts passed under President George W. Bush, which expire at the end of the year. Republicans want all the tax cuts extended. Most Democrats, including the president, want tax cuts for families earning more than $250,000 to expire.
White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer said the pay freeze had nothing to do with the tax debate. But he added, "Republicans are going to have to make the case on why we can spend $700 billion," the cost of extended those upper-income tax cuts for 10 years.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.), the senior Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, called the proposed pay freeze "necessary and, quite frankly, long overdue." He said Republicans had outlined other steps to cut the deficit, among them by taking more steps to eliminate waste and fraud.