The House Committee on Appropriations last week cleared two separate appropriations bills that did not include a 2014 pay raise for civilian federal employees, but which also did not specifically reject a pay raise.
The Appropriations Committee approved FY2014 funding bills for the Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security departments. The committee is still considering ten (10) other appropriations bills to fund government operations in the fiscal year beginning in October.
Committee reports on the funding bills included identical language which stated, “The Committee does not include requested funding for a civilian pay increase. Should the President provide a civilian pay raise for fiscal year 2014, it is assumed that the cost of such a pay raise will be absorbed within existing appropriations for fiscal year 2014.”
Prior to passage, President Obama released a statement of administration policy on the bill. The section of the statement regarding a civilian federal employee pay raise read:
“The Administration urges the Congress to support the proposed 1.0 percent pay increase for Federal civilian employees. As the President stated in his FY 2014 Budget, a permanent pay freeze is neither sustainable nor desirable.”
House appropriators did not comply with the President’s request to incorporate funding for a pay increase. On Tuesday, June 4, the House passed the Veterans Affairs appropriations bill.
What does this mean? A pay raise is technically feasible should agencies be able to identify sufficient funding in their sequestration-limited accounts. Unfortunately, given the continuing downward trend for agency budgets, the outlook of that prospect resulting in a pay adjustment for civilian federal employees doesn’t look too good.
If no pay raise is granted for fiscal year 2014, civilian federal employees will be working into a fourth consecutive year without a pay adjustment. The House Armed Services Committee recently passed a bill that would provide a 1.8 percent raise for military members in 2014.