When it comes to the 2020 federal pay raise, most white collar hopefuls fall into one of three camps. Where do you fit in? Are you…
1. A Happy Camper. One of the super optimistic feds hoping the 2020 general/locality pay raise will be enough to cover higher premiums coming for most workers in most of the FEHBP plans. If trapped on a desert island this might be the kind of person you’d like as a companion. At least for awhile.
Or, are you….
2. A Me First type: Most are people in higher-salary, high-cost localities — San Francisco-San Jose, Los Angeles, New York City, and the Washington D.C.-Baltimore area to name a few — who hope and expect they will, again, get the biggest total pay raise when locality adjustments are made. They are confident that they will, because they know they should, get bigger annual raises and have larger salaries than their counterparts in less-expensive locality cities or in the catch-all RUS (rest of the U.S) where feds typically earn the least and get the smallest annual raises. People like this are likely to turn out to be your supervisor or boss some day.
3. The Get-Real Crowd: This group is typically composed of more jaded/experienced civil servants who are in a self-preservation wait-and-see-mode. For them it’s not a question of how much the 2020 raise will be as will there be any raise? They’ll start revising their personal budgets when, or if, any pay raise is approved this fall and signed into law despite opposition from the White House — as happened this year. While not necessarily as upbeat or fun to be around as the happy campers, the get-real gang might be more useful teammates in one of those survival island or naked-and-not-alone TV shows.
Some believe the new two-year budget deal is possibly sign of good things to come. It was designed to prevent any government shutdowns, like the record 35-day time out last December and January. But now the House and Senate are under pressure to do something they rarely accomplish: Approve all pending agency appropriations bills before the start of the new fiscal year. It also take sequestration off the table, meaning there won’t be a repeat of the 2013 furloughs-without-pay for some 750,000 workers and many more contractors.
National Treasury Employees Union president Tony Reardon called on lawmakers to approve the 3.1% civilian pay raise and, even more unlikely, to finish its basic job: To pass all 12 appropriations bills before the new fiscal year begins. Although many consider that the basic job of the House and Senate, their track record is unimpressive. And most members are in full reelection mode now, 15 months before the election. Since the start of the most recent appropriations system, congress has only done it four times: In fiscal year 1977, 1989, 1995 and 1997. Most years agencies run on continuing resolutions — and sometimes they shutdown.
The point is that Congress will be spending as little time as possible in Washington D.C. between now and November 2020. That will almost certainly defuse efforts to make federal retirement programs, Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS), more costly to workers — and less valuable when they become retirees.
Two federal lobbyists, who asked not to be quoted, said they were cautiously optimistic the pay raise will squeak through.
One thing is for sure, health insurance premiums will be going up. No surprise there. The issue is, what will you pay them with?
Secret Service agent Jerry Parr is credited with saving the life of President Ronald Reagan during an assassination attempt in 1981 when he quickly got the President into his limo as John Hinckley Jr. attempted to kill him. Reagan was struck by a bullet in the rib but in the moment had not realized it, believing the rib pain was coming from being pushed in the mayhem. Parr took quick action ordering the limo to be taken to the hospital instead of the White House when he saw bright, frothy blood coming from the President’s mouth and worried he had a punctured lung. The decision saved the President’s life. And the kicker of it all is, Parr had become interested in becoming a Secret Service agent when he was young after watching 1939 movie “Code of the Secret Service” — which starred a young Ronald Reagan.