Senate Appropriations Bill Leaves Pay Raise to Trump

No push for pay parity to match civilian increase with 2.4 percent bump for military members.

The chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday released a $20.8 billion financial services and general government appropriations bill, which will leave a 2018 pay raise for civilian federal employees up to President Trump.

Chairman Thad Cochran, R-Miss., included boilerplate language in the bill that would allow the White House’s proposal to raise civilian feds’ base pay by 1.9 percent across the board next year to move forward unimpeded. In August, Trump described any additional compensation for the federal workforce as “not warranted.”

The bill cuts $637 million from a number of federal agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service, the Office of Personnel Management and the General Services Administration. It also brings the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which is currently funded by the Federal Reserve System, into the congressional appropriations process.

In May, Trump proposed a 2.1 percent across-the-board pay raise for members of the military, but Congress elected to increase that figure to 2.4 percent during its deliberations for the fiscal 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, which lawmakers sent to Trump’s desk for signing last week.

That measure has led to calls from federal employee groups and some lawmakers to increase the raise civilian federal workers are slated to receive in 2018, citing a tradition of pay parity between the armed services and the civilian bureaucracy.

Last December, President Obama unilaterally increased civilian feds’ pay for 2017 to match the 2.1 percent laid out for military service members in that year’s NDAA. It remains to be seen whether Trump would do the same absent congressional action.