Because the House made no mention of federal pay in its passage last week of the 2023 spending package, the chamber has effectively endorsed the White House’s plan for a 4.6% federal employee pay raise in 2023.
In March, the White House proposed an across-the-board 4.6% pay increase for civilian employees in its 2023 budget. The budget proposal was not specific how the 4.6% increase would be divided into an overall average pay increase and locality pay.
The House’s silence on federal pay for next year essentially puts the White House pay plan in effect by default. Congress must take deliberate action to counter a president’s pay plan. The Senate could weigh in on the issue in August with its version of a 2023 spending package.
Inflation Bonus Proposed for Some Federal Employees
The House also passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA – HR 7900) last week which included an inflation bonus of 2.4% for Department of Defense employees making $45,000 per year or less.
According to language in the bill, the bonus would be issued beginning on or after January 1, 2023 and paid the first of each month for the remainder of 2023. The bonus would be payable to DoD employees in both the Federal Wage System and the General Schedule.
The White House, however, is opposed to inflation bonus pay. On July 12, the Office of Management and Budget issued a policy memo stating the following:
“The Administration welcomes a provision in the NDAA, aligned with its FY 2023 President’s Budget request, which provides a 4.6 percent pay raise to Service members. The Administration strongly opposes the limited inflation bonus that would apply only to Department of Defense civilian employees for calendar year 2023. This provision would create significant pay inequities among Federal civilian employees and creates other problems, including for the Calendar Year 2024 pay adjustment, as currently drafted. The Administration urges the Congress to support the robust government-wide civilian pay increase of 4.6 percent included in the FY 2023 Budget request.”
It is uncertain whether the Senate will consider the inflation bonus in its version of the DoD authorization bill.
Potentially Long Process Ahead for 2023 Federal Pay Raise
The issue of increasing inflation could add more political pressure to what is traditionally a long process in determining next year’s pay for federal employees. The final 2023 federal pay raise figure will not likely be released until December with pay tables from the Office of Personnel Management.