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February 8, 2019

92,000 Federal Bureaucrats Earn More Than…

Democrats want raises for all government workers. But do they already make too much?

The House voted recently to provide a 2.6% across-the-board pay raise for federal workers. Speaking in favor of the legislation, Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-VA) argued, “Our federal civil servants are like any other workforce. More than 900,000 of those federal employees earn less than $60,000 a year. They are not rich. They are not living high on the hog. They deserve and need this adjustment, especially after the longest, most reckless shutdown of the government in American history.”

What Connolly said of federal workers is often true. But it’s also often not. Pushing back against Connolly’s assertion, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) noted the obvious irony: “Think about what this bill says. All of those hard-working taxpayers in the private sector, hey, you are already making less, but now you are going to have more of your tax dollars go to pay people — who are already making more money than you — to get a raise. How is that fair?”

Backing Jordan’s argument are last year’s federal workers’ salary numbers, provided by the Congressional Research Service. One statistic that is quite illuminating shows that 92,000 federal bureaucrats earn as much of more than the governor of the state where they work. For example, 1,000 clerical workers in Alabama made $120,000 in salary; in Ohio, 333 made nearly $149,000; in Maryland 3,561 made at least $170,000. And the list goes on.

Adam Andrzejewski, CEO and founder of the government accountability website OpenTheBooks.com, pointedly asks, “When public affairs staffers in Alabama are out-earning their governor, it’s time for Congress to hold hearings regarding the proper pay levels for federal employees. How can [thousands of] general administrators, clerks and office service staffers make as much as a governor?”

The House voted 259-161 in approving the salary raises, with 29 Republicans siding with every Democrat.

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