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House Panel Advances Spending Bill With 3.1% Pay Raise for Feds

The measure also would block the Trump administration’s plan to merge the Office of Personnel Management with the General Services Administration.

Members of a House subcommittee by voice vote advanced a spending package to the full House Appropriations Committee Monday night that would block President Trump’s proposal to freeze federal employee pay in 2020 and reject the administration's plan to merge the Office of Personnel Management with the General Services Administration.

The draft fiscal 2020 Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill advanced by the subcommittee calls for an average 3.1% pay raise for federal civilian employees next year. At $24.9 billion in discretionary spending, the overall bill funding the Treasury Department, judicial branch and several smaller agencies including OPM, marks a $1.4 billion increase over spending for the current fiscal year and $355.5 million over President Trump’s budget request.

The bill also blocks funds from being used to implement the Trump administration’s proposal to merge OPM with GSA, which has gotten a steely reception from lawmakers in both parties. It includes $339 million for the federal government’s HR agency, an increase of $43.4 million over fiscal 2019 and more than half of the $70 million budget shortfall projected as a result of the move of the National Background Investigation Bureau to the Defense Department, a number cited by the White House as partial justification for the merger.

The legislation also increases funding for the Internal Revenue Service 6% over Trump’s fiscal 2020 budget request and grants a nearly 40% increase in spending over enacted levels for the Small Business Administration. And the bill allows participants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to apply for jobs in the federal government.

The appropriations bill now heads to the full House Appropriations Committee for approval, after which it will go to the House floor for a vote. The Senate has not yet published its own draft of the Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill.