WASHINGTON - New Hampshire's delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives was split in a vote Friday that would extend the pay freeze on federal workers.
U.S. Rep. Ann McLane Kuster, D-N.H., was one of 43 Democrats who broke ranks with their party to support the measure, which would block a 0.5 percent pay raise scheduled to go into effect beginning March 27. U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H., was one of 144 Democrats to vote against the bill, which passed 261-154 thanks to an overwhelming Republican majority in favor of the bill.
The bill would also extend the freeze on congressional member pay, now running through September, until the end of the year. Shea-Porter described the tie-in of member pay as a way to guilt members to vote for the measure and criticized House leaders who refused to allow separate votes on raises for members and workers.
"Today, House leadership put a bill on the floor to freeze the pay of hard-working middle class federal workers for the third year in a row, and tried to get members of Congress to join them by adding member pay to the bill. I have in the past voted against and would continue to vote against raising my own pay, which is excellent, but I will not vote against a modest pay raise for middle class federal workers - about $5 a week for a worker earning $50,000 a year. Leadership should concentrate on closing loopholes and reforming the tax code instead of shrinking middle class wages," Shea-Porter said in a statement.
Shea-Porter's vote met with criticism from New Hampshire Republican Party Chairman Jennifer Horn.
"At a time when Congresswoman Shea-Porter is trying to raise taxes on working families, it is outrageous that she is supporting a fiscally irresponsible federal pay raise that would cost $11 billion. Congresswoman Shea-Porter's radical position is so appalling that even a tax-and-spend liberal like Congresswoman Annie Kuster opposed her and voted to block the increase," Horn said in a statement.