Not so long ago, President Trump announced his intention to freeze all federal employee pay in 2019. Now, an agreement has been reached to increase pay by 1.9% by the Republican members of the Senate and House. Initially, the Washington Post broke the news, and it came as a result of the conflict between House and Senate versions of the general government appropriation bills. The version posted by the House included no increase, but the Senate included a bill that increased pay by 1.9%.
What happens now? In September, the House and Senate appropriations committees had a number of meetings to discuss appropriations that would affect the general government in addition to Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Food and Drug Administration, Interior, Environment, and Financial Services. The appropriations are now being funded under temporary measures, and this expires this month.
If everything goes to plan for said Republican members, the military will receive the largest pay increase for nearly a decade. Barbara Comstock, a Congresswoman and a keen supporter of the salary raise, says it shows respect and appreciation for the work of federal employees.
She continued by stating the importance of attracting the best employees while the economy is booming; with competitive salaries, the very best talent will be attracted, and we can work towards high levels of homeland security, national security, medical research, and law enforcement. During the Obama administration, the recession forced a three-year pay freeze, and Comstock believes this ‘hurt’ federal employees. Therefore, it’s important to fight for competitive compensation while those who represent these employees work together.
While this news is indeed positive for federal employees, we should note that the increase isn’t guaranteed and hasn’t completed every test just yet. Now the midterm elections have passed, the House and Senate will consider the proposal even further. Unfortunately, there’s a potential of some delays to conference negotiations if additional riders are added to the legislation.
The President of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, Richard G. Thissen, noted that a ‘modest increase’ is not only an acknowledgment of federal employees’ hard work but also an investment that maintains the federal workforce and keeps it in line with the private sector. Once the two are aligned, the public sector won’t pale in comparison, and the best talent can be retained and obtained.