Feds’ pay raise passes committee, but faces obstacles

The full House Committee on Appropriations — in a 30 to 21 vote June 11 — favorably passed general government and financial services appropriations legislation for fiscal year 2020 that includes a 3.1 percent pay raise for federal employees.

The bill would also ensure that the Trump administration is unable to dissolve the Office of Personnel Management and place its responsibilities under the General Services Administration and the Executive Office of the President.

“Federal employees keep our country running safely and efficiently every day. This modest pay increase is an important step towards recognizing the value of public servants and their hard work while making government employment more appealing and competitive with private-sector employment,” said National Active and Retired Federal Employee Association National President Ken Thomas.

“We also appreciate the committee’s understanding that dismantling OPM and moving civil service policy to the Executive Office of the President would eliminate safeguards against a politicized federal workforce and put vital programs at risk of not receiving the attention they deserve. NARFE urges both the House and Senate to preserve the federal pay raise and allow OPM and GSA to remain separate entities in their final legislation.”

But passage from House committee does not guarantee that the appropriations legislation will become law, and some members of the committee warned that the legislation, as it is currently constructed, would be unable to pass the Senate and get the president’s signature.

The bill passed along party lines, as Republican members of the committee voted against it due to provisions that increased spending, loosened funding restrictions for the District of Columbia and prevented the administration from drawing on certain Department of Treasury funds to construct a border wall, among other sections.

“We just can’t afford to spend more on general government activities,” said Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., though he called the legislation a “foundation that we can work from.”

Appropriations legislation often goes through thorough changes as it moves from House to Senate consideration and back, making it likely that the general government and financial services bill will likely look different in some ways by the time it is signed into law.

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