Bill Would Give Federal Employees a 3.2 Percent Pay Raise in 2018

Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., is the author of the bill. Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., is the author of the bill. Susan Walsh/AP

Federal employees would receive an across-the-board pay raise of 3.2 percent in 2018, under a bill introduced by a House Democrat Tuesday.

The Federal Adjustment of Income Rates (FAIR) Act, introduced by Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., would give federal workers a 2 percent adjustment to their base pay, and a 1.2 percent average increase to their locality pay. Fed-friendly Democrats have introduced a similar measure for several years, saying it would help close the gap been federal and private sector pay. Last year’s measure would have given employees a 5.3 percent raise, though it never received any legislative consideration.

Connolly said the reintroduction of the Holman Rule, which will allow members of Congress to target specific federal jobs for elimination or pay cuts, has added to the demonization of the federal workforce in recent years.

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“For too long Republicans have bullied our federal workforce, falsely painting the civil servant as the scapegoat for all our country's problems,” Connolly said. “They’ve endured shutdowns and furloughs, attacks on pay and benefits, and an across-the-board hiring freeze. Their hard work was questioned.”

The congressman noted federal employees are spread throughout the country.

“Contrary to alternative facts, 85 percent of [federal employees] live and work outside the National Capital Region,” he said.

Last year, President Obama surprised federal employees by increasing their pay raise for 2017 at the 11th hour to 2.1 percent. The increase from his original proposal of 1.6 percent was designed to establish pay parity with members of the military.

The president generally suggests a pay raise that overrides the statutory formula that would otherwise automatically determine the increase. Congress can override the president’s plan, but has declined to do so in recent years. President Trump will likely offer his first federal employee pay adjustment -- or freeze -- in his fiscal 2018 budget.

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