Just a month after the Pentagon has proposed cutting benefits to our troops and veterans, Democrats in Congress have proposed a bill that will raise federal pay in 2015 by 3.3%. The authors of the bill, Congressmen Gerry Connolly of Virginia has been proposed because of his belief that federal workers deserve higher pay. The notion that we must cut benefits of men and women in uniform and yet are proposing giving federal workers one of their largest increases in recent years is astounding, and it isn’t expected that Republicans will pass the bill.
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), who crafted the legislation, said the proposal is overdue after a federal-employee salary freeze that lasted more than three years and the sequester-related furloughs that cut into the wages of some agencies’ workers.
Four other House Democrats, Jim Moran (Va.), Elijah Cummings (Md.), John Tierney (Mass.) and Matt Cartwright (Pa.), plan to cosponsor the bill.
In a joint statement on the measure, Connolly said House conservatives have “demonized and demoralized” the federal workforce, adding that his measure would “begin repairing the significant damage that has been wrought on our overworked, underpaid and underappreciated career civil service.”
The bill, which calls for a more generous salary increase than President Obama proposed for federal workers next year, has little chance of garnering widespread Republican support. The White House’s 2015 budget plan requested a lower 1 percent pay raise for federal employees.
Obama froze federal pay rates for two years starting in 2011, and Congress extended the hold through 2013. Federal workers still received performance awards and higher compensation through promotions during that time.
The president in December ordered a 1 percent pay increase that kicked in this year, but inflation rose at a higher rate of 1.5 percent in 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ consumer-price index.