Congressional appropriators have reached a deal for fiscal year 2020 funding that would grant federal employees the largest pay raise they’ve received in a decade, according to a House democratic aide.
The government funding package, which would provide full appropriations and avert a government shutdown if passed by Dec. 20, includes a 3.1 percent pay raise for feds.
“Federal employees have many allies in Congress and we commend all of them for their persistence in getting House and Senate negotiators to include the average 3.1 percent raise in their final compromise spending agreement,” National Treasury Employees Union National President Tony Reardon said in a statement.
“This kind of progress takes a great deal of effort, and federal employees will always be grateful to those who support civil servants.”
That raise was initially introduced in House appropriations legislation, to combat a proposed pay freeze from the Trump administration.
President Donald Trump later relented on that freeze and announced his support for a 2.6 percent pay increase that would not include increases for locality pay.
Senate funding legislation initially fell in line with such a proposal, but the higher pay raise, along with a number of other Democratic priorities, comes in exchange for border wall funding that Trump has pressed for most of his presidency.
“I am pleased that we were able to reach an agreement on each of our full year appropriations bills. This legislation makes a robust investment in rebuilding our military and secures significant funds for the President’s border wall system," said Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., in a news release.
"Our hard work over the past few months has ensured a bipartisan path forward to complete our FY2020 appropriations process. I want to thank my colleagues and urge both sides of the aisle to support these packages for the good of our nation. These bills include a long list of priorities that will benefit people across the country. This is what the American people deserve — for us to fulfill our primary responsibility — funding the government.”
The deal also provides $7.6 billion to support the 2020 Census, $1.4 billion more than Trump initially proposed. Preparations for the Census have revealed higher costs than initially predicted, as the agency has struggled with both the workforce and IT necessary to conduct a survey of American households that will occur predominantly online for the first time.
The news of increased pay comes on top of a recent federal benefits victory in funding negotiations, granting employees 12 weeks of paid parental leave beginning in October 2020 through the National Defense Authorization Act.
“I’m pleased that we have reached a bipartisan agreement that will keep government open, provide the certainty of full-year funding, and make strong investments in key priorities for American communities,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y., in a news release.
“With higher spending levels in line with the bipartisan budget agreement, we are scaling up funding for priorities that will make our country safer and stronger and help hardworking families get ahead.”
The pay and Census deals will feature in two minibus appropriations packages that are expected to be considered in the House Dec. 17.
Jessie Bur covers federal IT and management.