Senate CR would cancel federal raise
A proposed raise for the federal workforce, already modest, would disappear under a Senate bill that also would fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year. (Stock image)
The Senate has released legislation that would avert a March 27 shutdown and fund the government through September. Unfortunately for federal employees, the bill also keeps wages frozen for the rest of 2013.
The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2013 mirrors pay-freeze language in the House-passed continuing resolution, and would cancel President Barack Obama’s suggested 0.5 percent raise for the federal workforce.
In the newly released Senate bill, Section 1112 rescinds the provision permitting a civilian pay adjustment for federal employees, continuing the current pay freeze until Dec. 31, 2013.
Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said the bipartisan agreement avoids a shutdown, adheres to the Budget Control Act, enhances the House CR for many critical priorities, "and lets us wrap up fiscal year 2013 so we can get to next year’s budget and find a balanced solution to sequester."
Not unexpectedly, federal labor union leaders were critical of the news that wages would remain frozen. J. David Cox Sr., national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, said some Republican senators balked at the idea of even a modest bump, even though "the wealthiest contractors" got a 10 percent raise.
"Federal employees now will have suffered three years of no pay raises, at the same time hundreds of thousands of them are facing multiple days of furloughs because of sequestration," Cox said. "It’s hard to imagine the federal government becoming a less attractive employer than it is today after this decision."
Camille Tuutti is a former FCW staff writer who covered federal oversight and the workforce.