In a series of letters sent in the last week to either President Trump or leadership on Capitol Hill, nearly 200 Republican and Democratic lawmakers have urged passage of a minimum 1.9% pay increase for civilian federal employees in 2019.
While in June the Senate approved a 1.9% pay raise for federal employees as part of its 2019 financial services appropriations bill, the House version of the bill has been silent on the issue. Without action from Congress this fall, federal employees will face a pay freeze effective January 1, 2019 under an alternative pay plan President Trump sent to Congress on Aug. 30.
“We write to urge you to reject the President’s decision to deny hardworking federal employees a modest, scheduled pay increase of 2.1 percent, which would have taken effect in January 2019,” eight lawmakers from the D.C. area wrote in a letter to Senate and House leaders on Sept. 5. “We request that Congress provide, at the very least, a 1.9 percent federal pay adjustment, which was included in the Senate-passed Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2019.”
“We should not abandon our federal workers but rather stand by the 1.9 percent federal pay adjustment that is already included in the bipartisan and Senate-passed Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2019,” wrote 158 House Democrats in a letter Sept. 7 to House and Senate leadership.
Another group of 23 lawmakers, spearheaded by Rep. Scott Taylor (R-VA), wrote to President Trump Sept. 7 expressing particular concern about federal employees who perform security-related work, including those at the Defense Department, Homeland Security, State, Customs and Border Protection, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “While we applaud efforts to be fiscally responsible,” the House members said, “these scheduled pay raises are overdue for our hardworking federal employees and provide incentives to recruit and retain a strong federal workforce,”
“President Trump’s claim that the federal government cannot afford to provide the workforce with a modest pay adjustment next year after signing a $1.5 trillion tax cut for the wealthiest individuals and corporations is ridiculous on its face and insulting to every employee who has taken an oath to serve this country,” said American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) President J. David Cox Sr on Tuesday.
Hope Remains for a 2019 Federal Pay Raise
GovExec reported Tuesday that the make-up of the conference committee selected to iron out the Senate and House differences in the spending bill could favor the inclusion of a 1.9 percent pay raise for civilian federal employees in 2019. All senators, Republican and Democrat, voted for the Senate version of the bill that included a pay raise, while nearly half of House conferees have expressed support for the Senate plan.