While the Senate passed a continuing resolution (CR) late Wednesday night to prevent a partial government shutdown at the end of the week, the spending package does not include a proposed 1.9 percent pay raise for civilian employees in 2019. The CR would provide funding for the federal government through Feb. 8.
The Senate had approved a 2019 federal pay raise of 1.9 percent in August as part of a spending bill package. While the House was silent earlier this year on a pay raise, in October the House signaled that it had reached a tentative agreement with the Senate to pursue the 1.9 percent pay increase. If enacted, the Senate’s pay plan would override President Trump’s proposal to freeze pay.
“It’s imperative that federal employees be given a 1.9 percent pay raise next year, and we are going to be fighting night and day to make sure that happens,” said American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) National President J. David Cox Sr. yesterday in a national press call with members of Congress. Joining the call were Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD).
Cardin told GovExec Wednesday there could be other avenues to approve a pay raise before Congress adjourns, although he said that they all would need McConnell’s approval. “We obviously can do whatever we want to do legally as far as passing legislation, but [the Senate pay raise proposal] is an adjustment that was set by law to take effect,” Cardin said.
Cardin also said he wants to resolve questions and pass a federal pay raise now, because he said it’s unclear if Congress can retroactively adjust pay if lawmakers do pass a continuing resolution through Feb. 8 and revisit the issue early next year, FederalNewsNetwork reported.
While the outcome remains uncertain, the continuing resolution now moves to the House, and if passed in that chamber, would then be submitted to President Trump for his signature.