The Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday proposed a pay freeze for federal employees in 2021 as part of its appropriations bill.
President Trump recommended in February a 1 percent across-the-board increase to basic pay for civilian federal workers in 2021. The House, through its own appropriations bills last summer,
deferred to the president’s recommendation since it did not include any provision regarding federal pay.
The Senate’s proposal, however, would freeze federal employees’ pay at 2020 levels. The proposal is included in the Financial Services and General Government draft bill. A summary of the section mentioning federal pay is here.
Some Democratic lawmakers criticized the Senate Appropriations Committee’s proposal.
“While I’m pleased we were successful in including these provisions, I am deeply disappointed that the Republican Committee Leadership sought to forgo the traditional Committee process, including the opportunity for markup and amendments to these bills,” said Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) on Tuesday. I am also disturbed to see the Republicans’ attempts to deny federal employees fair compensation and to undermine our civil service. This is simply the first step proposed by Senate Republicans, and as we seek to pass final legislation, I will fight to invest in vital priorities that are not included in this bill and to remove partisan poison pills,” the Van Hollen added.
Groups representing federal employees were also critical of the proposal.
“Trying to outdo President Trump in disrespecting federal employees by eliminating even the paltry raise he put forth is completely unwarranted and will only worsen the government’s ability to function effectively,” said American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) National President Everett Kelley. “The wage freeze proposal is a cruel slap in the face to those who have risked their lives to maintain government services for all Americans during the worst health crisis in our lifetimes.”
The Senate could adopt their appropriation committee’s proposal to freeze federal pay in 2021, or they could be silent on the topic like the House was earlier this year. In such case, the president could either continue with his 1 percent federal pay raise recommendation, or he could recommend a pay freeze.
The official pay rates are not officially announced until near the end of December through an executive order from the White House.