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petegz28 03-06-2013 10:03 AM

Obama caught in another "Sequester" lie
 
Capitol janitors making ‘ends meet’ with overtime? Nope

“You know, those Capitol janitors will not get as much overtime. I’m sure they think less pay, that they’re taking home, does hurt.”

— Gene Sperling, director of the White House economic council, on ABC News’ “This Week,” March 3, 2013

“On the issue of the janitors, if you work for an hourly wage and you earn overtime, and you depend on that overtime to make ends meet, it is simply a fact that a reduction in overtime is a reduction in your pay.”

— White House spokesman Jay Carney, news briefing, March 4

At a news conference last Friday, President Obama claimed that, “starting tomorrow,” the “folks cleaning the floors at the Capitol” had “just got a pay cut” because of the automatic federal spending cuts known as the sequester.

The president very quickly earned Four Pinocchios for that statement, especially after senior officials at the Architect of the Capitol (AOC), the federal agency that employ janitors on the House side, and the office of the Sergeant at Arms (SAA), which employs janitors on the Senate side, issued statements saying the president’s comments were not true.

Still, the White House has kept up its spin offensive, claiming that a cut in “overtime” was a de facto pay cut and thus the president was right — or at least not wrong.

So, we wondered: How much overtime do Capitol Hill janitors actually make?




The Facts


First of all, we should note that the White House’s story kept evolving as we reported last week’s column. It’s almost as if the president’s aides had to scramble to come up with reasons why the president could be correct, without actually knowing the facts.

So, when we forwarded to White House aides an AOC memo saying no furloughs were planned, White House aides latched onto a line about overtime reductions. For a couple of hours, we were also told that the janitors were on contract — and contracts were being curtailed. But that line of reasoning turned out to be incorrect. Then, after the statements from the Capitol were issued, there was no longer any response.

But, as seen by the quotes above, the talking point about “overtime” did not fade away.

AOC officials declined to discuss janitor compensation, but SAA officials were willing to share details. Given that the AOC and SAA janitors essentially work side by side, it is reasonable to assume that the pay statistics are roughly similar.

Bret H. Swanson, assistant sergeant at arms for operations and the manager of cleaning technicians, said 27 people are employed on the night cleaning shift and 16 people on a day shift; a majority of the cleaning takes place at night. There is a differential for the overnight shift, so the night janitors earn an average of $51,644 a year and the day janitors earn an average of $49,481.

And the overtime pay? It averaged $304 per employee in fiscal year 2012 and $388 per employee thus far in the current fiscal year. “Cleaning technicians do not earn what I would consider to be a great deal of overtime pay,” Swanson said.

In other words, overtime amounts to only pittance of the overall pay — about $6.50 a week on top of wages of $1,000 a week. That’s much different from Carney’s claim of having to “depend on that overtime to make ends meet.”

Indeed, even before the sequester was implemented, Capitol Hill janitors have already earned more overtime pay than they did in all of last year. Swanson said the higher amount so far this year is because of “the demands of beginning a new Congress and hosting a presidential inauguration during a weekend that also included a federal holiday.”

Swanson said that, as reported, SAA would work on trying to drive down overtime requirements for employees for the rest of the year. But, for the rest of the sequester, the janitors are already ahead of the game.

A White House spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.




The Pinocchio Test


We don’t try to play gotcha here at The Fact Checker. When Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) was ridiculed for saying last week that 170 million jobs would be lost because of the sequester, we dropped our inquiry when we realized she had corrected her statement — to the official Congressional Budget Office estimate of 750,000 jobs — later in the same news conference. Everyone makes mistakes, and that’s understandable.

The quicker the mistake is cleaned up, the better. As Education Secretary Arne Duncan showed this week, a little humility, even a bit late, can be a good thing.

But a clean-up brigade shouldn’t simply try to deflect and obfuscate. Apparently, the president assumed — incorrectly — that the janitors on Capitol Hill would get a pay cut. Rather than admit an error, White House aides doubled down on their talking points about overtime being essential to their livelihood, without actually knowing the truth.

Clearly, the sequester is hurting segments of the government and will cut the pay of some government workers. It would be better to focus on those people rather than imaginary victims.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...1394_blog.html

2bikemike 03-06-2013 10:34 AM

Pretty good pay for a Janitor.

alpha_omega 03-06-2013 12:34 PM

Quote:

Still, the White House has kept up its spin offensive, claiming that a cut in “overtime” was a de facto pay cut and thus the president was right — or at least not wrong.
Interesting...sounds kind of analogous to the relationship between baseline budgeting and the sequester.

Amnorix 03-06-2013 01:57 PM

So the Obama Administraiton may have muffed this. Whatever. Here's what's more interesting, to me:

Quote:

The president very quickly earned Four Pinocchios for that statement, especially after senior officials at the Architect of the Capitol (AOC), the federal agency that employ janitors on the House side, and the office of the Sergeant at Arms (SAA), which employs janitors on the Senate side, issued statements saying the president’s comments were not true.
So we have TWO different agencies/offices that employ janitors to work WITHIN THE SAME ****ING BUILDING?

Yet another perfect example of inefficiency and stupidity in the management of our federal affairs.

More and more I'd love to have a pure bean-counter as Vice President who was given a mandate and empowered by the President to do NOTHING except RUTHLESSLY root out inefficiency in government to make everything run more smoothly. Gore made some headway in this respect on regulations, but I don't mean just regulations, I mean everything.

KC Dan 03-06-2013 03:08 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Amnorix (Post 9470765)
More and more I'd love to have a pure bean-counter as Vice President who was given a mandate and empowered by the President to do NOTHING except RUTHLESSLY root out inefficiency in government to make everything run more smoothly.

I vote for this guy:

Frazod 03-06-2013 03:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Amnorix (Post 9470765)
More and more I'd love to have a pure bean-counter as Vice President who was given a mandate and empowered by the President to do NOTHING except RUTHLESSLY root out inefficiency in government to make everything run more smoothly. Gore made some headway in this respect on regulations, but I don't mean just regulations, I mean everything.

The one we've got now can't count to 20 without taking his ****ing shoes and socks off.

La literatura 03-06-2013 03:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by frazod (Post 9470973)
The one we've got now can't count to 20 without taking his ****ing shoes and socks off.

LMAO

go bowe 03-06-2013 03:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by frazod (Post 9470973)
The one we've got now can't count to 20 without taking his ****ing shoes and socks off.

hey, he's still got fingers and toes to count on...

at his age, that's quite an accomplishment...

KCWolfman 03-06-2013 03:54 PM

"You will regret writing that"

headsnap 03-06-2013 04:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by frazod (Post 9470973)
The one we've got now can't count to 20 without taking his ****ing shoes and socks off.

We're safe as long as he doesn't have to count to 21...

KC Dan 03-06-2013 04:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by headsnap (Post 9471245)
We're safe as long as he doesn't have to count to 21...

Blackjack!

2bikemike 03-06-2013 04:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by frazod (Post 9470973)
The one we've got now can't count to 20 without taking his ****ing shoes and socks off.

He would still screw it up!

CoMoChief 03-06-2013 05:10 PM

Obama lied? GTFO

the guy's a crooked SOB.

end of story.

BucEyedPea 03-06-2013 05:12 PM

Let him keep lying.
 
Obama's poll numbers have dropped since sequestration cuts. ( which includes air traffic control if you can believe it.) Although there's more equal blame for both parties. So at least Obama isn't getting away with blaming Republicans. Looks like his honeymoon is over. Business as usual returns.


http://www.gallup.com/poll/160850/ob...sequester.aspx

KCWolfman 03-06-2013 05:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by headsnap (Post 9471245)
We're safe as long as he doesn't have to count to 21...

http://www.comicbeat.com/videos/Cart...Guy_Black_Jack


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