Pay & Benefits Watch Pay & Benefits WatchPay & Benefits Watch
Key developments in the world of federal employee benefits: health, pay, and much more.

Eyes on the Prize

ARCHIVES

It's only July and already the House has passed a 3.1 percent pay raise for civil service workers in 2006, but does that mean employees will get their raises on time?

Not necessarily.

It's true that House members worked to get their measure, which was included in the 2006 Transportation-Treasury appropriations bill (H.R. 3058), passed before the July recess. For the last two years, the House didn't pass its bill until September.

In order for the pay raise to go through, though, a number of hurdles still must be jumped. The Senate also must pass a bill with a pay raise. Then members from each chamber will have to work out differences in the two versions of the bill. Once the committee reaches agreement, each chamber must pass a final version.

"All we can do on the House side is to pass our appropriations bill in a timely manner, which is what Chairman [Jerry Lewis, R-Calif.] got done this year," House Government Reform Committee spokesman Robert White said. "We're very happy with the 3.1 percent, and now we're waiting for the rest of the pieces to fall into place."

The target adjournment date Congress has set is Sept. 30, and the last possible moment that Congress and the president could finish their work on time is the end of the calendar year, Dec. 31. Then the pay increase could go directly into effect for the 2006 calendar year.

However, if a logjam in Congress prevents a timely finish to the effort, workers will receive part of their raise retroactively, which is what happened in 2003 and 2004, when workers received their extra pay at least three months or more late. For 2005, the raise went into effect on Jan. 9.

While Congress is on track to get that pay increase to workers on time, the recent retirement of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor means the Senate will have to spend time confirming a court nominee. That duration can vary. While O'Connor's confirmation hearings lasted less than two weeks, the hearings of Justice Clarence Thomas went on for more than a month.

Members of Congress also have President Bush's Social Security reform agenda, as well as all other spending items, to deal with in that same period.

The Senate Appropriations Committee is scheduled to meet about their version of the 2006 Transportation-Treasury appropriations bill on Tuesday, according to committee spokeswoman Jenny Manley.

Once Congress finishes its work, the president has to sign the bill into law. President Bush objected to the raise, because it is higher than his proposed 2.3 percent pay increase. This may be where the trouble begins, according to American Federation of Government Employees President John Gage.

Getting the bill finished on time is "very important," Gage said. "[The Office of Management and Budget] has promised me they will [institute] pay parity this year, but I still think the administration is not finished. I don't think they're done."

In an added complication, there is a pay raise formula already established by law - the 1990 Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act. If the final pay raise differs from the number mandated by FEPCA, by law the president will need to issue a statement to reconcile the discrepancy.

 
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

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