WASHINGTON, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Growing concern over the U.S. deficit has prompted a key Republican lawmaker to try to trim raises for federal workers.
Rep. Ernest J. Istook Jr., R-Okla., chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee, which handles federal workers' pay, says the federal government can no longer afford to give the same pay raises to civilian employees as it does to the military.
As a result, he is urging Congress to back President Bush's proposed 3.5 percent raise for the military and 1.5 percent for civilians, the Washington Post reported Friday.
"We often express our appreciation for federal workers, but we must balance this with our own fiscal responsibility," Istook wrote in a recent letter to House colleagues.
His letter comes as the White House and the Republican-controlled Congress are under renewed pressure from GOP conservatives to clamp down on federal spending amid rising deficits.
Congress routinely has awarded civilian workers base pay raises that exceed both inflation and Social Security cost-of-living increases.