What a shock! You mean the same President who sent his Education Secretary out to make baseless claims about the sequester putting teachers out of work told a whopper about pay cuts for janitors and security guards? So says Glenn Kessler at the Washington Post, and, er … the Architect of the Capitol that employs them:
“Starting tomorrow everybody here, all the folks who are cleaning the floors at the Capitol. Now that Congress has left, somebody’s going to be vacuuming and cleaning those floors and throwing out the garbage. They’re going to have less pay. The janitors, the security guards, they just got a pay cut, and they’ve got to figure out how to manage that. That’s real.” …
We have embedded an image of the document below. Stephen T. Ayers, the architect of the Capitol, listed a number of steps being taken to reduce expenses, including limiting new hiring and postponing repairs. This line jumped out at us: “We do not anticipate furloughs for AOC employees as a result of Sequestration.”
Here is the memo for all to see:
The White House then tried to argue that the sequester would cut overtime, but Kessler isn’t buying that explanation:
A White House official notes that the memo does refer to “further reducing overtime.” Technically, that could mean some janitors might see less pay, but it’s unclear how many actually earn overtime. Under the reasonable person test, a possible reduction in overtime appears a bit different than “just got a pay cut.”
[Update: Another White House official says that the janitors, both part time and full time, are contracted out by the Architect of the Capitol. “Since the AOC said that the contracts would be reduced or eliminated, it’s hard to convincingly make the case those contract workers won’t be affected,” he said. In other words, White House officials assume there is an impact but they are not exactly sure themselves.
In other words for those other words, no one actually bothered to check this claim before Obama made it at the press conference. Why not? Apparently, they don’t care about getting caught fibbing and demagoguing, and the rest of the media (Kessler aside) doesn’t seem to be checking up on their claims, especially those that fit their class-warfare paradigm.
Kessler gave Obama two Pinocchios for this hyperbolic allegation, but Obama’s entire PR effort — including today’s “What more do you want me to do?” performance — deserves a federal budgetful of Pinocchios.