Federal Pay Raise Shot Down by Senate Subcommittee


Last Thursday, June 14th, a Senate panel advanced a spending bill that is suspected to further extend the pay freeze for federal employees in light of a recommended pay raise. With no funding or specific language regarding federal employee’s salaries, the bill’s ambiguity leaves many to question what is to come next for federal workers.

The Senate Appropriations Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee remained silent on the issue of a possible pay raise for the upcoming year that was proposed by the Obama administration. The President suggested that a 0.5 percent raise should be attached to the fiscal 2013 budget; however both House and Senate committees excluded the modest increase from their respective versions of the FY 2013 General Government Subcommittee spending plans.

If Congress fails to appropriate the funds for a pay adjustment elsewhere in the budget, the pay freeze would almost certainly continue into 2013.

“Excluding a modest federal pay increase is the opposite of what Congress should be doing to bring our ailing economy back on track,” said NFFE National President William R. Dougan. “We need to give up the flawed idea that slashing federal pay and benefits helps the economy – it does not. Giving hardworking, middle class federal workers a decent wage increase after two years falling behind will be a good first step in the right direction.”

In addition to the House and Senate General Government Subcommittees’ bills, there is other legislation in the works that may also affect employees’ pay. On May 31st the House passed the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs spending bill that would freeze pay for employees at both the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. The House also passed the Homeland Security spending bill where there is no language discussing funding for President Obama’s proposed civilian pay raise.

Despite these recent attacks, the President has threatened to veto several of the bills targeting federal pay, providing a critical safeguard against any further pay freeze. Furthermore, NFFE continues to work tirelessly on Capitol Hill to ensure that federal workers get the pay adjustment they have earned.

“Federal employees cannot be expected to suffer pay freezes year after year after year,” said NFFE Legislative Director Randy Erwin. “It’s time for Congress to show federal employees the respect of a pay adjustment that at a minimum keeps pace with increases in living expenses. A pay freeze is really a pay cut. Congress can’t keep throwing federal workers under the bus like this.”