1.3% Pay Increase Final in Spending Bill, Looking Ahead to 2016
Congress passed a government funding bill for 2016, eliminating the possibility of a government shutdown in 2015, and a 1.3 percent pay adjustment goes into effect for federal employees on Jan. 1. Heading into the year-end appropriations discussions, federal employees had reason for concern with House Speaker Paul Ryan at the head of the negotiations. When Speaker Ryan was chairman of the House Budget Committee, he routinely published budgets that froze federal employee pay, cut federal employee pensions and called for an overhaul of the Federal Employee Retirement System that would have reduced benefits for federal retirees. When it was all said and done, none of these provisions targeting federal workers were included in the funding package.
However, Congress failed to take action on other high-priority items of NFFE. Most notably, Congress failed to repeal the senseless cuts to travel reimbursements for Department of Defense (DoD) employees on long-term TDY. The DoD unilaterally imposed these senseless budget cuts in late 2014, saddling Defense workers with $22.5 million in cuts. Now, DoD employees that are required to travel for work have to pay out-of-pocket for some basic necessities. While repealing these cuts brought together bipartisan coalitions of advocates in both the House and Senate, they were ultimately not included in the spending bill agreed upon in Congress. Repealing these cuts will be a top priority for NFFE in the New Year.
“We are pleased to see this budget season wrap up without a government shutdown or additional targeted cuts aimed at federal employees,” said NFFE National President William R. Dougan. “With this budget cycle behind us, we can do more to pursue legislative action on the most pressing issues for NFFE-IAM members. Federal employee wages continue to lag behind comparable private sector work by 35 percent, VA employee due process rights are under constant threat of attack from this worker-hostile Congress, DoD employees are forced to endure senseless cuts while accomplishing mission-specific work and the Forest Service remains without comprehensive fire funding reform. These are just a few of the many issues NFFE will spearhead in 2016.”