WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Congress is poised to nearly halve the salary cap for U.S. government contractors after years of dramatic increases driven by skyrocketing executive pay.
A broad budget bill that won approval by the House of Representatives on Thursday would lower the cap to $487,000 a person, down from its current level of $952,000. The Senate is expected to pass the bill next week.
The measure would be a partial victory for the White House, which for years has sought to rein in contractor reimbursements that fund salary and other personnel costs. In May, the White House proposed limiting the reimbursement level to $400,000 a person – the amount Barack Obama earns as president.
In a memo quietly published in Wednesday’s Federal Register, the White House procurement chief instructed defense and civilian agency heads to raise the cap on taxpayer funds that can be used to reimburse contracting companies for the pay packages of top executives.
Beginning with contracts let in fiscal 2012, the maximum reimbursement level is $905,308, an increase of $190,000. The cap is based on a formula mandated by law, according to the memo from Joe Jordan, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy.
“Under current law, the administration has no flexibility to depart from the statutory requirement that the cap be adjusted annually based on the application of the statutorily-mandated formula,” Jordan’s memo said. “The administration has strongly reiterated the need for reforms to the current statutory framework and Congress has considered several proposals to reform the compensation cap. To date, however, Congress has not revised the cap amount or the formula for adjusting the cap,” other than enacting a small change in 2011 expanding the cap on pay on defense contracts to cover all employees, rather than the five highest-paid. Continue reading “White House Makes Few Friends in Raising Contractor Pay Cap”
Taxpayers can be billed $952,000 per contractor employee under new rule
WASHINGTON – American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. today expressed his outrage at the news that the cap on annual compensation paid to contractor employees using taxpayer dollars has been increased to an astounding $952,000.
The new limit announced by the Office of Management and Budget reflects a one-year increase of nearly $190,000 and a four-year increase of 55 percent. The compensation cap has nearly quadrupled since the mid-1990s.
Shutting down the government could cost the federal government well over $2 billion dollars if it resembles the last shutdowns in 1995-1996, though the economy would be harmed in additional ways that are nearly impossible to measure.
The Office of Management and Budget estimated that two government shutdowns in 1995 and 1996, totaling 27 days, cost the federal government $1.4 billion. That’s over $2 billion in today’s dollars on costs like back pay to furloughed federal workers and uncollected fines and taxes. That number doesn’t begin to account for intangible losses in worker morale and productivity, and confidence in the federal government.
Doug Holtz-Eakin, the former director of the Congressional Budget Office, said a short-term shutdown will have a fairly small economic impact. The federal government spends roughly $3 billion a day in discretionary spending, so a disruption like the ones in 1995 and 1996 could wind up being roughly equivalent to the cost of keeping the government running for a day. Continue reading “Government shutdown: What’s the cost?”