Potential Pay Cuts

October 27, 2011

Cuts to federal pay could hurt government programs over time, the Congressional Budget Office director said Wednesday to members of the super committee tasked with cutting the federal budget deficit.

CBO Director Doug Elmendorf noted at a hearing of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction that proposals to freeze federal pay rates could have an adverse impact on government programs going forward.

"Lowering pay rates for federal civilian employees could hamper efforts to recruit and retain workers [particularly in some occupations], which could reduce the overall skill level of the federal workforce over time," Elmendorf said. "Having fewer federal workers would probably lower the levels of service that federal agencies provide to the public, unless cuts in the agencies' workforce were accompanied by actions to enhance productivity." 

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