Bill Would Give Federal Employees a 5.3 Pay Raise in 2017

Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., said the raise would be a down payment to restore some of the losses feds have sustained recently. Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., said the raise would be a down payment to restore some of the losses feds have sustained recently. Susan Walsh/AP file photo

This story has been updated.

Federal employees would receive an across-the-board pay raise of 5.3 percent next year under a Democratic-sponsored bill introduced Tuesday.

The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., would provide feds with a 3.9 percent boost, plus a 1.4 percent bump in locality pay for 2017. The figure is more than three times President Obama’s proposed 1.6 percent pay raise for federal workers in 2017.

“No other group has been asked to sacrifice more than our federal workforce, who have endured years of pay freezes, increased retirement contributions, no locality pay, sequestration cuts and a government shutdown,” Connolly said. “This bill is a down payment on trying to help restore some of the losses that have been incurred by our dedicated federal employees, and I hope demonstrates we value their public service.”

The Virginia Democrat last year sponsored a similar bill, which would have given federal workers a 3.8 percent raise in 2016. Instead, they received the 1.3 percent increase that Obama supported.

Thirty-two House members are co-sponsoring the Federal Adjustment of Income Rates (FAIR) Act, including Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., and several lawmakers from Virginia and Maryland, where many federal employees live and work.

“Our federal employees have faced furloughs and uncertainty because of a government shutdown [in 2013], and they have contributed $138 billion toward deficit reduction,” said House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md. Hoyer represents 62,000 federal workers who live in his district. “These employees deserve to be compensated fairly for the critical work they perform every day for our country.”

The Federal-Postal Coalition, which is made up of 31 organizations representing 5 million federal and postal workers and retirees, endorsed the FAIR Act.

Tony Reardon, National Treasury Employees Union president, said on Tuesday during the union’s annual legislative conference that while the bill’s prospects are “not a lot,” NTEU “will bust our tails to make it happen.” Even the proposed 1.6 percent raise “could be blocked by Congress if we are not vocal and vigilant,” he said.

“Congress must pass this catch-up contribution to keep federal employees from falling further behind,” said American Federation of Government Employees President J. David Cox Sr., referring to the FAIR Act in a statement on Wednesday.

Charles S. Clark contributed to this report.

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