An extension of the pay freeze for federal workers that Congress is considering also should include a freeze on congressional salaries, Rep. Sean Duffy tells Newsmax.
President Barack Obama instituted a two-year pay freeze for the nation’s 2 million civilian employees in 2010 but his 2013 budget is expected to include a 0.5 percent hike. The Wisconsin Republican contends that all sectors of the federal workforce must share in the sacrifice.
“If we’re asking the federal workforce to freeze their pay, but members who are paid as federal workers aren’t included, it just seems hypocritical,” Duffy said during an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV. “We should be part of any pay freeze out there.”
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Duffy, who noted that the freeze does not apply to those serving in the military, cited a recent Congressional Budget Office study that found the salary package for federal workers is 16 percent more than their counterparts in the private sector.
“It just doesn’t make sense and especially at a time when the private sector, the American taxpayer, have been forced to work less hours because of tough times and taking concessions in pay,” he said. “They are not getting a pay raise right now so too the federal government workers should not get one as well.”
Duffy also recently proposed the Restoring Ethical Standards, Transparency and Responsibility in Congressional Trading Act, or RESTRICT Act. Duffy’s measure is one of several bills before Congress to restrict the ability of members to benefit from insider knowledge they might acquire. A recent “60 Minutes” expose accused members of Congress of using such information to make money in the stock market.
The measures enjoy widespread support on the Hill, and President Barack Obama has said he would sign such legislation. It is unclear what form the final bill will take. Duffy’s measure goes further than the STOCK Act or the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act.
“The STOCK Act was a good start, but I believe there are a number of loopholes you could drive a truck through,” Duffy said. “If you are going to pass a bill that’s going to shed light on what’s happening in Congress we should do it the right way. We should go all the way.
“And so my bill is the RESTRICT Act. What it does is very simple. It would require members of Congress to put their assets in a blind trust. There’s a wall then between the information the member gets in their congressional duties as opposed to what their fund manager does with their assets. So they will personally not benefit from the information they garner in their jobs.”
Those who have limited assets or want to manage their own assets would have to disclose trades to the House Clerk within three days, and the information then would be made public, Duffy said.
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