House passes 3.5 percent military pay raise

The House approved a 3.5 percent pay raise for military personnel Thursday, also approving measures to scale back the Defense Department's controversial personnel system and limit public-private competitions for government work.

"There are many provisions in this bill that are good for our men and women in uniform, such as a 3.5 percent pay raise and a prohibition on fee increases for the TRICARE and TRICARE pharmacy programs," said Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton, D-Mo., following the 397-27 vote to pass the fiscal 2008 Defense authorization legislation.

The final measure preserved committee language to overhaul the Pentagon's National Security Personnel System, which has been challenged by federal labor unions as limiting the collective bargaining and appeal rights of the department's civilian employees.

The House-passed bill would restore those rights and would require the department to bargain with unions before implementing changes to its pay-for-performance system.

The White House opposes the changes, and in a statement warned that presidential advisers would recommend that Bush veto the final bill if it includes the language.

Federal labor union officials, however, praised the House vote. "We commend the House of Representatives for repairing the damage inflicted by the department's misguided personnel system," said American Federation of Government Employees President John Gage.

The House also left untouched committee-passed provisions related to competitive sourcing, the process of inviting the private sector to bid on government work under Office of Management and Budget Circular A-76.

An amendment sponsored by Nancy Boyda, D-Kan., would give federal employees new appeal rights in A-76 competitions, and would give managers discretion not to recompete work at the end of an in-house team's performance period.

The bill would also push the department to develop guidance on bringing contracted work back in-house, prevent contractors from gaining a cost advantage by offering health or retirement benefits cheaper than those provided to federal employees, limit OMB's role in the Pentagon's decision-making around competitive sourcing, and require a reconsideration of all ongoing competitions to gauge whether they should continue.

The bill would require all agencies to notify Congress of their intention to announce a new competition.

The White House condemned the A-76 provisions, as well as lawmakers' decision to raise pay more than the 3 percent proposed in the president's budget, but did not threaten to veto the authorization measure based on those issues.

Brittany R. Ballenstedt contributed to this report.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.