Congressional watchers are seeing signs that may offer a glimmer of hope to federal employees wanting a pay raise in 2014. Talk is that it might even be higher than the 1% the White House has recommended.
The House Appropriations Committee is working on drafts of spending bills for the upcoming 2014 fiscal year. The drafts do not specifically include money to give federal employees a pay raise but they don’t rule it out. By this time last year, the House had already voted to continue the pay freeze through 2013 as part of a budget outline and as a freestanding bill, and the appropriations bills it drafted specifically denied any raise. So far this year there has been no separate bill regarding raises for 2014, the budget outline has no mention of a pay increase. The early appropriations bills are neutral, stating that if a raise is included, the cost would have to be absorbed out of each agency’s general funding accounts.
In January, the White House proposed a 1% raise for both federal and military personnel. A House Armed Services subcommittee has recommended increasing the military raise to 1.8%, the figure indicated by a labor cost index measure to which both military and federal employee raises are supposed to be linked. There will probably be calls for also increasing the federal employee raise to 1.8% in the name of pay parity. Until recently, that was the standard practice. In 2010 federal employees received a raise but military personnel received a larger one. In the past three years military personnel continued to receive raises while federal salary rates have been frozen.