Appropriations panel adds pay parity amendment to budget

Measure would give civilian employees a 3.1 percent pay raise in 2006, equal to that proposed for service members.

An amendment to make civilian pay raises equal with military pay raises was included in the House version of the 2006 Transportation, Treasury and Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill Thursday, despite objections from the White House.

The measure was sponsored by House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and was co-sponsored by Reps. Frank Wolf, R-Va., Tom Davis, R-Va., and Jim Moran, D-Va.

It would provide an average 3.1 percent pay raise to all federal civilian employees next year, equal to the pay raise proposed for military employees.

"I have fought for pay parity for federal civilian employees over the strong objections of the Bush White House for four years, and I will fight again this year until federal employees receive the pay adjustment that they deserve," Hoyer said in a statement. "[A] fair pay adjustment is needed to keep pace with private sector salaries so the federal government can compete for quality employees."

For several years now, the pay parity issue has arisen after the White House budget proposal included higher raises for uniformed personnel, but Congress has typically backed legislation providing equal pay raises for civil service workers.

For the fiscal 2006 budget, the Bush administration has proposed a 3.1 percent raise for members of the military and a 2.3 percent average increase for civilian federal workers.

"Military personnel and federal civilian employees work side-by-side and for the same employer," Hoyer said. "Our nation is able to deploy our air, sea and land fleets safely and swiftly, thanks to the muscle and logistical support of both federal civilian employees and military employees."

The National Treasury Employees Union said in a statement that the amendment recognizes the jobs federal workers perform and praised the committee's action.