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:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


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