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Petition Asks Obama to ‘Do What Is Right’ and Grant a Bigger 2017 Pay Raise

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Susan Walsh/AP

So far federal employees have been letting lawmakers and advocacy groups do their bidding when it comes to demanding a higher pay raise in 2017.

On Wednesday, however, an individual joined the chorus asking for a pay hike more than triple President Obama’s proposed 1.6 percent boost by filing a petition on the White House’s We the People website.  The petition by “R.C.” doesn’t explicitly ask Obama for a bigger raise, but it makes a statement in support of the Federal Adjustment of Income Rates (FAIR) Act (S. 2699), introduced by Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii.

Schatz’s bill, and a similar measure introduced by Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., in the House (H.R. 2699), would give federal employees an across-the board pay raise of 5.3 percent in 2017. The measure has the support of the Federal-Postal Coalition, a collection of more than 20 unions and associations representing employees across government. The coalition wrote a letter to lawmakers last month imploring them to support the bigger raise.

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The We the People petition outlines the reasoning for demanding a 5.3 percent boost and concludes with: “On behalf of the five million federal and postal employees please do what is right!”

As of early Thursday afternoon, the petition had just one signature; it will need 99,999 more by Aug. 12 to warrant a response from Obama. Similarly, the FAIR Act hasn’t advanced, even at the committee level. The only thing that does appear to be moving is Obama’s proposed 1.6 percent raise. The House late last week passed the fiscal 2017 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, which – by virtue of staying silent on the issue – would allow the 1.6 percent figure to take effect.

Amelia Gruber covered management and contracting for Government Executive for three years before becoming an editor. She also has worked as an editor at Roll Call newspaper and as a research assistant at the Urban Institute. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Carleton College, with a major in economics, and a master’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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