Senators Propose 3.3 Percent Pay Raise for Federal Employees

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md. Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md. Jose Luis Magana/AP File Photo

Two Democratic senators have introduced legislation that would give federal employees a 3.3 percent pay raise in 2015, mirroring a bill already introduced in the House.

Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, introduced the bill -- which would apply to both General Schedule and wage-grade employees -- with Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., as a cosponsor. Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., introduced the same measure, called the Federal Adjustment of Income Rates (FAIR) Act, in the House in March.  

The legislation would increase federal salaries significantly more than the 1 percent raise pitched by President Obama, which federal employee unions have called “inadequate” and “pitiful.” A 3.3 percent raise, said National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelley, more accurately reflects the indicators for calculating salary increases as spelled out in federal law.

“After several years of pay freezes, unpaid furloughs and government shutdowns, it is time for federal employee pay to get back on track,” Kelley said. “We appreciate Sen. Schatz and Sen. Cardin introducing this bill to provide a fair pay raise for federal employees in 2015, and will work to garner support for it.”

Kelley added the raise was necessary to shrink the gap between private and federal-sector pay.

With the House yet to take any action on its version of the bill, it is unclear if the proposed raise will become law. The House on Thursday passed a Defense bill authorizing a 1.8 percent raise for military personnel, however, opening the window for the pay parity argument that federal employee advocates have made many times in the past. 

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