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President pushes raise, drops pension payment increase in budget request

Mar. 4, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
By ANDY MEDICI   |   Comments
President Obama's proposed budget includes a small raise for federal employees. (SAUL LOEB / AFP/Getty Images)

The administration proposed a 1 percent pay raise for federal employees and dropped a proposal to increase pension contributions in its fiscal 2015 budget request.

Office of Management and Budget director Sylvia Burwell said in a press conference March 4 the administration recognizes how challenging recent years have been for federal employees, but that a 1 percent raise was the best they could do within such a tight cap on spending.

“We believed that our federal employees deserved an increase,” Burwell said.

The administration has also dropped a proposal from last year to increase pension contributions by 1.2 percent for current federal employees. A new method of calculating federal retiree benefits called the ‘chained CPI’ — which would have reduced benefit growth — was also dropped in the 2015 request.

“There are provisions that were in previous budgets that no longer are in regards to relationships with employee pensions,” Burwell said.

J. David Cox, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, said in a press release that while the budget request repudiates the idea of budget austerity it is ‘woefully inadequate’ after years of federal pay freezes and benefit cuts.

He said federal employees have born $138 billion in pay and benefit cuts over the next 10 years and the administration needs to roll those cuts back.

“President Obama needs to repudiate these failed policies by providing federal employees with a meaningful pay raise of 4 percent next year and working with Congress to fully repeal all of the cuts that have been made to federal retirement benefits,” Cox said.

The president’s budget will also:

■Support the development of government-wide training and resource exchanges across agencies to share best practice and increase leadership development opportunities for employees.

■Provide funding for the Office of Personnel Management to build a stronger recruiting program for the senior executive service and training opportunities for current SES employees.

■Include demonstration projects to identify promising practices in recruiting and hiring to help increase diversity and reduce skill shortages in the federal workforce.

Burwell said the focus on increased training and workforce development was part of a broader management agenda to make the federal government mor e responsive and more efficient.

“We need to think about how we think about helping our workforce be the best they can possibly be,” Burwell said.

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