In an attempt to reduce the national deficit, President Barack Obama has called for a two-year freeze of Federal employee wages.
According to media reports, the Obama administration estimates that the freeze will save $2 billion for the remainder of fiscal year 2011 and approximately $28 billion over the next five years. The proposal, which needs congressional approval, would save roughly $60 billion over 10 years.
Although the savings would not provide a large dent in the overall deficit, which is expected to exceed $9 trillion over the next decade, politicians and economists believe it would be a symbolic first step toward greater fiscal discipline.
"The hard truth is that getting this deficit under control is going to require some broad sacrifice," Obama said, quoted by CNN. "And that sacrifice must be shared by the employees of the Federal government."
The freeze, however, does not apply to military personnel. According to the news provider, Representative Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) criticized that exemption, saying that the freeze should apply to members of the military, except for those actively serving in combat.
According to Time magazine, GOP leaders have publicly praised the President for the two-year freeze proposal. Representative Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who will serve as the Majority Leader in the House of Representatives beginning in January, said he was pleased "that President Obama appears ready to join our efforts."