President Barack Obama will recommend a 1 percent pay increase for federal employees in his fiscal 2014 budget request, according to federal-employee unions.
The pay increase will apply to both civilian federal workers and military members. The White House is expected to release its full budget request next month.
The proposed increase is more than what Obama recommended last year — a 0.5 percent increase. The president later put the pay raise on hold until after Congress passed a full-year budget. At the time, a stopgap continuing resolution was in effect. Feds are now on track for the slight pay raise in March when the continuing resolution expires — whether Congress passes a budget or not.
“After all that federal workers have sacrificed the past three years, they have earned a raise. I repeat, they have earned a raise,” National Federation of Federal Employees William Dougan said in a statement. “We are pleased to see the President take a bold stance and advocate for this badly-needed pay adjustment.”
Still, two other federal union say feds, who haven’t seen an across-the-board raise in two years, deserve more.
“I strongly believe that both groups deserve more and this amount is inadequate,” said Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union in a statement. “When compared with wage growth in the private sector, federal workers and members of the military will fall further behind, making it more difficult for the government to attract and retain qualified personnel.”
J. David Cox Sr., national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, echoed Kelley’s sentiments in a statement of his own.
“President Obama’s proposed 1 percent pay adjustment for 2014 is simply not enough,” he said. “It is not enough to allow federal employees to make up lost ground from two-plus years of frozen pay. It is not enough to allow workers, most of whom earn very modest salaries ranging from $24,000 to $70,000, to maintain living standards. And it is not enough to send a message with any kind of clarity that the administration values the federal workforce and doesn’t believe it should continue to bear an enormously disproportionate share of deficit reduction.”
Obama froze federal pay at the end of 2010, following one of the recommendations of the Simpson-Bowles deficit commission.
There have been a number of congressional proposals to extend the pay freeze for federal civilian workers. The latest of them, a bill to continue the freeze through the end of the fiscal year, will be taken up by the House next week.
Francis Rose is the host of In Depth, which airs weekdays from 4-7 p.m. on 1500 AM in the Washington, DC metro area and online everywhere. Francis has covered all three branches of the federal government as a broadcast journalist since 1998. He joined Federal News Radio in 2006, and launched In Depth in 2008 as a daily show focused on connecting federal executives to the information they need to do their jobs better.