Feds’ Pay Increase Doesn’t Make House-Passed FundingawsDONOTREMOVE
The House Committee on Appropriations has evaluated and approved the FY 2021 general funding legislation, albeit without any provisions for a pay hike for federal employees.
The bill was approved and passed by the Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, which was then presented to the full committee on July 8. The bill deals with funding provisions required by the government and other financial services.
The general government appropriation legislation is also generally used for setting the federal pay hike for the year. In the previous year, the bill had approved a 2.6% basic pay hike for federal employees. The Committee has not yet added any information regarding a pay increase for this year in the bill.
But if Congress doesn’t approve of a locality and basic pay hike for federal employees, the authority to make this decision gets deferred to the President. Trump has already made public his plans to approve a 1% pay hike for the feds, subject to certain modifications to the federal benefits package.
It should be noted that Congress still holds the power to determine the pay hike as of now. Members may choose to amend the bill to set a federal pay hike later when the bill is presented and considered on the floor or the committee. The Senate is also required to approve the bill before a final decision is made. The President is only required to act if senators at each of these levels fail to decide about the federal pay hike for the year.
A Senate Panel had approved military pay to be hiked by 3% last month. Congress’ federal employee advocates have often argued for civilian pay hikes to be at an equivalent rate to their military counterparts.
Rep. Gerry Connolly and Sen. Brian Schatz had introduced a bill earlier this year that would have set the federal pay hike for the year at 3.5%. They stated that it would help employees who were suffering from the effects of pay freezes, sequestration, and furloughs.
However, federal employee representatives are worried that not setting a pay hike specifically in the funding legislation could leave federal employees at a disadvantage.
While federal pay hikes are usually well supported when the economy is doing well, pay freezes have also been implemented during times of economic crisis or recessions. With the coronavirus pandemic having an adverse negative impact on the economy, their fate currently hangs in the balance.
While the bill doesn’t address any federal pay concerns, it does prohibit competitions or studies that would turn federal employees into contractors. DACA recipients have also been made eligible to apply for positions at the federal level.
NARFEA President Ken Thomas stated that federal workers were making outstanding sacrifices and contributions to combat the coronavirus pandemic with many of them at risk of contracting the disease due to the nature of their jobs. He alleged that House appropriators were deliberately ignoring their contributions and preferring to defer this decision to the President and termed it unfair to federal employees.