Senate Democrats Want to Triple Obama's Proposed Federal Pay Raise

Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, wants to give feds a big raise. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, wants to give feds a big raise. J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press

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

The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, 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.

S. 2699, co-sponsored by Democrats Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski of Maryland and Sherrod Brown of Ohio, is the companion bill to legislation that Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., introduced last month in the House.

The American Federation of Government Employees praised the effort to increase federal workers’ across-the-board pay raise next year.

“This adjustment will help employees catch up on their credit card bills, student loan debts, home repairs, and so many of the everyday costs facing today’s workers,” said AFGE President J. David Cox Sr. Cox added that the government relies on experienced employees to carry out its mission, saying they should be compensated fairly, or they will leave. “We can’t afford to let these employees walk out the door.”

Democratic lawmakers in both chambers have tried unsuccessfully in the past to give feds a bigger annual pay boost than the president’s proposed figure. Connolly, Schatz and Cardin in 2015 sponsored similar legislation, which would have given federal workers a 3.8 percent raise in 2016. Instead, they received the 1.3 percent increase that Obama supported.

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