House Committee Leaves 2014 Federal Pay Raise on the Table

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

A House spending committee has cleared two separate appropriations bills that did not include a 2014 pay raise for civilian federal employees, but did not reject the notion entirely.

The House Appropriations Committee has approved bills to fund the Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security departments, both of which leave open the possibility for civilians to receive the 1 percent pay raise recommended by President Obama in his budget proposal.

“The committee does not include requested funding for a civilian pay increase,” lawmakers wrote in both spending bills, as first reported by The Washington Post.  “Should the president provide a civilian pay raise for fiscal year 2014, it is assumed that the cost of such a pay raise will be absorbed within existing appropriations for fiscal year 2014.”

In the fiscal 2013 VA appropriations bill, lawmakers more clearly rejected a similar Obama proposal to boost pay for feds.

“Amounts rescinded in this section shall be derived from amounts that would otherwise have been available for the increase in civilian pay for fiscal year 2013 proposed in the president’s request,” they wrote.

The Appropriations Committee must still agree to spending measures from its 10 additional subcommittees.

Pay for federal employees has been level for three consecutive years, after Congress passed and President Obama signed a spending bill for 2013 that kept compensation frozen. Military pay was bumped 1.7 percent in fiscal 2013, and the House Armed Services Committee recently passed a bill that would provide a 1.8 percent raise in 2014.

General budget outlines supported by Republicans in the House and Democrats in the Senate took contrasting stances on federal employee pay.

“Federal workers deserve to be compensated equitably for their important work, but their pay levels, pay increases, and fringe benefits should be reformed to better align with those of their private-sector counterparts," Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., wrote in his plan.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. -- Ryan’s counterpart in the Senate -- said in her plan federal employees have been the victims of cuts for too long.

"These workers have borne the brunt of recent deficit reduction efforts, with years of pay freezes and many workers facing furloughs in the coming months caused by the indiscriminate and untargeted sequestration cuts," Murray wrote.  

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