Bill with 1.4 percent federal pay raise clears Senate committee
An appropriations bill including a 1.4 percent raise for civilian federal employees cleared the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday.
The Fiscal 2011 Financial Services and General Government spending bill includes a 1.4 percent increase for federal employees, the figure President Obama requested.
When Obama proposed a 1.4 percent pay raise for civilian and military employees in February's fiscal 2011 budget request, Office of Management and Budget Director Peter R. Orszag said the proposed increase was smaller than previous requests because inflation has not been as high.
He also tried to head off potential complaints by saying, given the economy, even a minor increase "to a lot of Americans sounds pretty good."
Nevertheless, a 1.4 percent raise would be below the 2 percent raise civilian workers received in fiscal 2010. So far, few, if any, lawmakers have come out in favor of a larger raise in federal pay. In fact, there have been repeated attempts during the past few months to freeze federal pay.
When the president's request was announced, federal employees unions were not thrilled, but tempered their criticism, given economic realities.
The House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee has marked up a version of the Defense appropriations bill, which also includes a 1.4 percent pay raise for service members. In late May, the House passed its Defense authorization bill with a 1.9 percent fiscal 2011 pay raise for service members. An authorization bill represents what Congress intends to spend, but appropriators hold the actual purse strings and allocate funds.
If Congress approved a 1.4 percent pay raise for the military, it would be the smallest increase since 1973. In fiscal 2010, the president requested a 2.9 percent raise for military personnel and Congress bumped it up to 3.4 percent.