With 15 grades of 10 steps each and 4 SL levels, there is more than enough room to seek pay raises through superior performance leading to promotion regardless of what Congress does with the actual pay rates. As the boomer generation starts to retire in greater numbers, these opportunities will expand. At least they are freezing their own pay at the same time and cutting Congressional staff budgets as well. Many committee staff directors are spending this month trying to figure out how to avoid layoffs and asking senior staff to accept pay cuts in order to keep junior staff on board. We on the other hand are being asked to forego a 0.5 percent pay raise which, after taxes, would be almost enough to pay for coffee in the morning. Somehow, I think I'll survive.