Democrats Reject GOP Proposal to Block Raises for Federal Employees Guilty of Sexual Misconduct

January 31, 2019 Updated: January 31, 2019

A Republican proposal, which would add a provision to block federal employees disciplined for sexual misconduct from receiving the same pay raise as their colleagues, was rejected by House Democrats on Jan. 30.

Although 17 Democrats crossed the aisle to support the amendment, most voted to reject the legislation in a 216–206 vote that successfully blocked it. Republicans added the provision to a bill that would give a 2.6 percent pay raise to all civilian federal employees.

“During calendar year 2019, no increase in pay as authorized under this Act may be provided to any Federal employee who has been disciplined for sexual misconduct under chapter 75 of title 5, United States Code, or any other provision of law,” the proposal text by the GOP read.

The bill passed without the amendment and now goes to the Senate.

Sharp Condemnation

The rejection of the amendment drew sharp rebukes from Republicans. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said the blockage was “outrageous.”

“House Democrats just voted to give pay increases to federal bureaucrats with a history of sexual misconduct with your tax dollars,” he wrote on Twitter Jan. 31. “Outrageous.”

Mark Walker (R-N.C.) said the move was hypocritical, given the Democrats’ talk of the #MeToo movement.

“Democrats blocked us from preventing federal workers disciplined for sexual misconduct from getting a pay raise. I’m grateful to the 17 Democrats who voted their conscience. So much fake outrage in Washington,” he wrote on Twitter.

Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.) was one of the Democrats who voted against the proposal. Cardenas, who chaired the vote for the Democrats in the House, was accused last year of drugging and groping a 16-year-old girl in 2007 and is being sued by the woman in civil court. Cardenas has denied the allegations.

A spokesperson for House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said GOP members will continue to push for fair pay.

“As Washington Democrats continue their ill-advised push for unilateral pay raises for federal employees, regardless of their performance, Republicans continue to ask Democrats to amend their legislation,” said Erin Perrine. “Currently, this bill treats victims the same as their harassers. That makes no sense.”

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