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Bill would give feds a bigger raise

Mar. 26, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
By ANDY MEDICI   |   Comments
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew welcomes agency employees back following the government shutdown in October, 2013.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew welcomes agency employees back following the government shutdown in October, 2013. (Treasury Department)

Federal employees would get a 3.3 percent pay raise next year under legislation proposed March 26 by Democratic lawmakers.

Rep Gerry Connolly, D.-Va, who introduced the bill, said federal employees deserve fair compensation and their pay should keep up with growth in the private sector. The legislation, called the Federal Adjustment of Income Rates (FAIR) Act, is co-sponsored by Reps. Jim Moran, D-Va., and Elijah Cummings, D-Md.

Connolly said that by investing in the federal workforce, Congress can help repair the damage done on an over-worked, underpaid and under-appreciated civil service.

“Not only has our federal workforce been demonized and demoralized by the constant attacks from the House majority and the Tea Party, over the last four years federal wages have lagged far behind the private sector and have even failed to keep up with the rate of inflation,” Connolly said.

The administration proposed a 1 percent pay raise for federal employees in its fiscal 2015 budget request, and federal employees received a 1 percent pay raise in fiscal 2014. But lawmakers have said it is unlikely that a larger pay raise would get approval from Congress.

J. David Cox, the president of the American Federation of Government Employees, said the pay raise would help federal employees recoup lost income and boost agency efforts to recruit high caliber workers.

“Federal employees have seen their standard of living deteriorate in recent years due to a three-year pay freeze, unpaid furloughs, and higher retirement contributions for newer workers,” Cox said.

Cox said new federal employees are still on the hook for higher pension contributions and for furloughs suffered last year because of sequestration.

“A 3.3 percent increase would provide employees with a fair and meaningful raise for the first time this decade,” Cox said.

Joseph Beaudoin, the president of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, endorsed the legislation in a letter to Connolly, saying while federal employee pay only rose 1 percent in four years private-sector pay rose 6.5 percent.

“Providing our public servants adequate compensation is about more than just fairness, it is about maintaining an efficient and effective federal government,” he said.

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