Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Open thread: How will 2018 midterm election fallout impact federal workers?

Tim Hoefer, policy director at the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, says both Republicans and Democrats think this could become a national partisan issue and have been trying to set up the debate going into November’s elections. Over 20 years ago (with the current Tax Reform Act), a federal pay freeze ended, so some Americans now have to pay because their pay is frozen, while others still have a pay increase. Yet in the past week the fact that the federal freeze on pay raises has ended became a major topic of discussion.

What has been the likely outcome? Both Democrats and Republicans have been highly critical of the fact that, as Hoefer sees it, Congress doesn’t seem to have any idea how it would raise money. He thinks their main goal is to say: “We have no plans to address this,” essentially creating a lot of frustration among federal employees (and their unions) who think they should have some sort of say about the matter. Yet, he says, while both parties are wary of commenting more specifically, both Republicans and Democrats know that this is one of those things people in general know a lot about, and it could become a major issue in the fall elections.

No comment from Senators McCain and Grassley was received, Hoefer said. But he said he heard that the former is going to work on raising taxes and lowering the debt and the latter may have his eye on reforming Medicare and Social Security, though it will be difficult. “They both think it is an important enough topic to do so, but they both are also kind of scared to openly say that,” he said.

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