Workforce

Connolly looks to give feds a pay raise

Gerry Connolly_2015 Eagle 

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) is pushing a bill to raise the pay of federal workers.

For the fourth consecutive year, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) introduced legislation Jan. 31 aimed at increasing the federal workforce's pay.

The 2017 iteration of the Federal Adjustment of Income Rates (FAIR) Act would increase pay 2 percent across the board and bump locality pay 1.2 percent for in response to lagging pay increases.

Federal pay has lagged since President Barack Obama instituted a three-year pay freeze in 2010. Before leaving office, Obama submitted an alternative payment plan calling for a 2.1 percent pay raise to match Congress's pay increase for defense employees.

The 3.2 percent Connolly's bill seeks constitutes the difference between the 5.3 percent he called for last year and Obama's revised plan.

"For too long Republicans have bullied our federal workforce, falsely painting the civil servant as the scapegoat for all our country's problems," Connolly said in a statement. "They've endured shutdowns and furloughs, attacks on pay and benefits, and an across-the-board hiring freeze.… This is no way to treat a workforce. The FAIR Act is a matter of justice. Federal employees work hard, serve honorably and they deserve fair compensation."

Connolly also cited the recent revival of the obscure Holman Rule, which affords House members the authority to fire or cut the pay of federal employees legislatively, as an example of trying to reduce the deficit at the expense of federal employees.

The National Treasury Employees Union, which represents 150,000 employees in 31 agencies and departments, publicly backed Connolly's legislation.

"In recent years, federal employees have been left trailing their private-sector counterparts when it comes to pay," NTEU national president Tony Reardon said. "The FAIR Act recognizes that federal workers are critical to our country and should be paid fairly."

None of Connolly's previous legislative efforts to give feds a pay hike gained much legislative traction, and any bill aimed at increasing pay for federal employees will likely face stiff opposition from Republican leadership.

President Donald Trump, who has pledged to reduce the federal workforce, recently issued a freeze on federal hiring and pay raises, a move Connolly called "a very dangerous management principle."

Moreover, the 2016 platform of the Republican Party called for checks on federal hiring and workforce activities and a series of workforce-related bills that was introduced in the 114th Congress that could be revisited.

Additionally, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) has a record of approving legislation that would cut federal employees' pay.

About the Author

Chase Gunter is a former FCW staff writer.

Featured

  • Defense
    Ryan D. McCarthy being sworn in as Army Secretary Oct. 10, 2019. (Photo credit: Sgt. Dana Clarke/U.S. Army)

    Army wants to spend nearly $1B on cloud, data by 2025

    Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said lack of funding or a potential delay in the JEDI cloud bid "strikes to the heart of our concern."

  • Congress
    Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) at the Hack the Capitol conference Sept. 20, 2018

    Jim Langevin's view from the Hill

    As chairman of of the Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committe and a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rhode Island Democrat Jim Langevin is one of the most influential voices on cybersecurity in Congress.

Stay Connected

FCW INSIDER

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.