Senate Passes 1.9 Percent Federal Pay Raise

This week, the United States Senate passed a 1.9 percent pay raise for federal employees in 2019. The measure was included in one of four appropriations bills passed yesterday as a “minibus” legislation package.

While the news will be a welcome development for most federal employees, and would match the raise feds received last year, the passage by the Senate does not guarantee the language’s ultimate success, with President Trump having proposed a federal pay freeze for 2019 and prospects in the House of Representatives still uncertain, as the House’s version of the same appropriations measure does not include a federal pay raise, so the issue would also need to be worked out in Congressional conference.

Nicole Ogrysko of Federal News also calls the vote “significant” in that “it represents the first time in about eight years since Congress has attempted to propose an alternative to the president’s initial pay recommendation for federal employees for the following year.”

The White House released a statement of administrative policy on the Senate’s measure, arguing that “across the board pay increases have long-term fixed costs, yet fail to address existing pay disparities, or target mission critical recruitment and retention goals,” reiterating that, “as proposed in the administration’s request for a workforce fund, the administration continues to support performance-based pay that is strategically aligned toward recruiting, retaining and retraining high performers and those in mission-critical areas.”

According to Ogrysko, the final determination should be made by month’s end. “The White House has until Aug. 31 to determine federal pay for the following year,” she writes. “Despite his budget recommendation, Trump has not yet officially set pay for 2019, and that announcement typically comes on or near the final deadline.”

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