Late last week I was appointed to the House Committee on Ways and Means, one of the most influential Committees in Congress. In fact, the Ways and Means Committee is the oldest in both chambers of Congress and is the chief tax-writing committee in the House of Representatives.
It is an honor to be named to the committee. As a Certified Public Account and business owner, I have dealt firsthand with the complexity of our tax code and its more than 4 million words.
Both Congressional Republicans and Democrats – and even President Obama – agree we must reform our massive, confusing and inefficient system of taxation. I look forward to bringing my expertise to the front lines of how we can accomplish that goal.
As a result of this appointment, and due to rules governing House committee membership, I was unfortunately forced to leave the House Committee on Financial Services and the House Committee on the Budget. I will be joining Representative Pat Tiberi as the only Ohio members of the Committee.
Switching gears, you may recall that just after Christmas the President handed federal employees – and Vice President Biden – a gift by removing the federal pay freeze. Last Friday, the House Representatives voted to overturn President Obama’s Executive Order removing the pay freeze for federal employees.
We are $16 trillion in debt. This year will be the first year of the Obama Presidency when the deficit will drop below a trillion dollars, and it is still going to be almost $900 billion. Federal employee salaries and benefits come from the taxes paid by American families and businesses. Raising their pay will only send us deeper into debt.
The fact is federal employee pay has actually been rising during the pay freeze anyway. The median federal employee has seen their pay increase by almost $3,200 over the last two years. As of September of last year, the median pay for a federal employee was just shy of $73,000. Over that same two years, wages in the private sector have been almost stagnant.
According to a study by the Congressional Budget Office, federal employees now make 16 percent more than their private sector peers in total compensation. We simply cannot afford to increase federal salaries at a time when Americans are already taxed enough and as a nation we are borrowing more than 40 cents of every dollar we spend.
Important to note, this pay freeze does not pertain to members of the military. However, continuing the pay freeze for other federal employees will save taxpayers more than $11 billion – a not insignificant amount of money.