The president's decision on the Jan. 1 raise is not unexpected and could still be traded away during debt ceiling and spending reduction debates involving Congress and the White House this fall. (Getty Images)
President Obama moved Friday to end a three-year freeze in federal pay scales, issuing an executive order that provides a modest 1 percent hike.
The decision on the Jan. 1 raise is not unexpected and not final. The government raise could still be traded away during debt ceiling and spending reduction debates involving Congress and the White House this fall.
J. David Cox Sr., national president for the American Federation of Government Employees, said in a statement that a small raise is better than nothing. “To call this raise inadequate is an understatement, but it is good news all the same,” he said.
“Although the 1 percent is a pitiful amount that doesn’t begin to compensate for the furloughs and three years of frozen pay, it is a welcome development,” Cox said, who noted the raise would not extend to blue-collar federal workers. Negotiations are under way to expand it to the full workforce, he said.
In Congress, the Senate has appeared willing to provide a 1 percent increase to civilians, the amount requested in the 2014 budget sent to lawmakers in February, but the House of Representatives has balked. Congress could override the executive order, providing a bigger raise or no raise at all, but one reason to believe this may be the final decision is that President Obama notified Congress on Friday that the 1 percent raise would also apply to the military. This announcement is intended to blunt efforts by the House of Representatives to provide a slightly larger 1.8 percent increase for the military.
The 1.8 percent increase, passed by the House as part of the annual defense policy bill and the defense appropriations, is the amount calculated under the Federal Pay Comparability Act to keep pace with the average private-sector increase.