House Appropriators Stay Silent on Federal Pay for 2021
House appropriators are silent on federal pay for now, increasing the likelihood that a planned 1% raise for civilian employees next year will advance as the president intended.
A draft budget bill for 2021, which the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government released Tuesday afternoon, makes no mention of a federal pay raise for General Schedule employees next year.
In their silence, House appropriators are essentially deferring to the proposal President Donald Trump offered earlier this year. In his budget request for 2021, the president recommended a 1% across-the-board federal pay raise for civilian employees next year, with no further locality pay adjustments.
Military members are on track to receive a 3% pay raise next year.
The president broke with tradition and submitted his federal pay plans to Congress back in February, a move that administrations usually reserve for the end of August. By statute, the president must announce his intentions for federal pay by Aug. 31 of each year.
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Congress, of course, has other chances to weigh in on federal pay, though House appropriators were perhaps most likely to act.
House members could introduce an amendment calling for a more substantial federal pay raise next year. The Senate could also act if it plans to introduce appropriations this year, though chances seem slim.
Congress could also cut a deal on federal pay later in the year through whatever budgetary vehicle members agree to, but lawmakers have little time during the election year to negotiate.
Without congressional action before the end of the calendar year, the president’s proposed 1% federal pay raise will likely advance. The president must sign an executive order implementing the 1% federal pay raise before the year ends.
Congress has twice intervened on federal pay raises in recent years, with lawmakers securing a 3.1% boost for civilian employees for 2020 and a 1.9% bump in 2019.
The House appropriations subcommittee will mark up its version of the 2021 financial services and general government bill Wednesday afternoon.
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This story will be updated.