Democratic senators Tuesday introduced legislation to provide federal employees with a 2.6 percent pay raise in 2019 — a figure which matches the pay increase for members of the military this year. This follows the House’s companion bill, the Federal Civilian Workforce Pay Raise Fairness Act of 2019, introduced Friday.
UPDATE 01/30/2019 5:05PM ET: The House’s bill passed Wednesday with a 259-161 vote, but was not retroactive. While it is unclear at this time if the Senate’s version of the bill will pass, there is indication of bipartisan support for a 2019 federal pay raise.
The White House last year proposed a 2019 pay freeze for federal employees. While the Senate had approved a 2019 federal pay raise of 1.9 percent in August as part of a spending bill package, the House was silent on the pay raise issue. Because Congress took no action to override the president’s proposal, the pay freeze took effect for 2019. However, if passed, the current bills in the House and Senate can retroactively override the pay freeze.
The Senate’s version of the bill was introduced by Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Mark Warner (D-VA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Brian Schatz (D-HI).
“Federal workers have shown during this historic shutdown how invaluable they are to the daily functioning of our nation. They should be compensated accordingly,” said Senator Cardin. “Congressional approval of a small increase in pay, comparable to what has been granted to our service members, would be a helpful measure in restoring faith in a system that left them in financial limbo for a record 35 days.”