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House Appropriators Break With President Trump, Propose 3.1% Federal Pay Raise In 2020 Draft Bill

Published Thursday, June 6, 2019
by Nicole Ogrysko/
House Appropriators Break With President Trump, Propose 3.1% Federal Pay Raise In 2020 Draft Bill

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - House appropriators have broken with President Donald Trump and proposed a 3.1% Federal Pay Raise for Civilian Employees in 2020.  Specifically, the proposal suggests a 2.6% across-the-board pay raise with an additional 0.5% adjustment in locality pay.  In total, Federal Employees would receive, on average, a 3.1% raise next year.

Majority members on the House Appropriations Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee have included the raise in a draft 2020 Spending Bill.  The subcommittee quickly moved the bill without objections or amendments earlier this week.  The measure now heads to the full House Appropriations Committee for consideration.

Whenever the Senate subcommittee releases and votes on its version of draft appropriations, both the House and Senate must reconcile any differences between the bill before voting and sending the measure to the President’s desk for his signature.

The Senate subcommittee, led this year by Senator John Kennedy (Republican-Louisiana) hasn’t yet introduced its version of this Appropriations Bill.  The Senate last year advanced a 1.9% Federal Pay Raise for Civilian Employees in 2019.  Kennedy at the time had introduced an amendment to eliminate the Federal Pay Raise from appropriations language, but the amendment was rejected.

It wasn’t until after the 35-day government shutdown this year that lawmakers cleared a 1.9% Federal Pay Raise for Civilian Employees in 2019.  

Agencies didn’t begin implementing the 2019 raise, retroactive to January 1st, until April.

The latest proposal from House appropriators breaks with President Trump, who for the second consecutive year suggested a Federal pay freeze for Civilian Employees as part of his 2020 budget request.  

The Office of Management and Budget again reiterated its desire to more strategically reward top-performing Employees instead of implementing an across-the-board pay raise for all.

But the 3.1% Federal Pay Raise for Civilian Employees is in line with what the Senate Armed Services Committee has recommended for members of the military in its version of the 2020 Defense Authorization Bill.

In addition, the 3.1% pay raise falls in line with the statutory formula, based on Employment Cost Index, that typically sets Federal pay.

It’s for both of these reasons that Federal Employee Unions and groups have been pushing House Democrats to make their own recommendation on a raise - and return Federal pay itself - to the appropriations process.

“This pay raise is a critical investment in our government’s most valuable resource - its Workers,” J. David Cox, the President of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), said in a statement. “It also maintains the decades-long principle of providing equal pay adjustments to the Government’s Civilian Employees and Service Members.”

The raise would also apply to the Vice President and Federal Employees on the Executive Schedule, according to the legislation’s text.

In a blow to the Trump Administration’s proposed merger, the subcommittee’s draft bill explicitly prohibits any funding to “reorganize or transfer any function of authority of the Office of Personnel Management to the General Services Administration or the Office of Management and Budget.”

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