Letter to House Minority Leader Gerald R. Ford on a Proposed Federal Pay Raise.
I must frankly advise that our critically important national effort to contain inflation is bound to be seriously undercut if the federal employee pay bill now before the House were to become law.
In its present form H.R. 13000 would add approximately $4.3 billion a year to federal expenditures. It would balloon expenditures in the remainder of this fiscal year by $1.5 billion.
Spending increases of this magnitude cannot avoid nullifying many of the steps we have recently taken to stabilize the economy.
Less than three months ago, the Congress reflected the nation's determination to control inflation by imposing an expenditure ceiling for the current fiscal year. I gave a commitment at that time to restrict expenditures for this fiscal year to $192.9 billion. In keeping with this limitation I am cutting federal expenditures for this year by an additional $3.5 billion. But if H.R. 13000 should become law, additional deep cuts in federal services would have to be made.
The increase which the Post Office Department alone must absorb, for example, would require cut-backs in a variety of services. They would include the elimination of Saturday deliveries and window service for rural, city and suburban areas alike.
Since our total expenditures must be limited, a new round of heavy pay increases for federal employees would be in effect a mandate to reduce, abruptly, the number of federal employees.
The national interest clearly requires reconsideration of H.R. 13000 because of its inflationary impact. Furthermore, it would grant disproportionate benefits to postal employees. These increases should be reexamined in light of another major legislative proposal now before Congress. Improvements in the condition of the postal worker are long overdue, but they ought to be secured through total reform of the present outmoded, inefficient and costly postal system.
The postal reform I have urged provides for the setting of wage levels for postal employees through collective bargaining. Any major increase in postal worker benefits should be secured through this process, or as part of legislation establishing a government-owned postal corporation which will have the means of operating, ultimately, on a self-sustaining basis.
I solicit your personal leadership in urging the House to recognize that, however appealing H.R. 13000 may appear politically at this moment, the consequences of its enactment would surely generate strong resentments throughout the public far outweighing presently anticipated political gains.
[Honorable Gerald R. Ford, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. 20515]
Note: The letter was dated October 13, 1969 and released October 14, 1969.
Richard Nixon, Letter to House Minority Leader Gerald R. Ford on a Proposed Federal Pay Raise. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/239818