Rep. Connolly to make push for higher federal pay raise

Rep. Gerry Connolly, (D-Va.) is planning to introduce a bill that would boost the proposed fiscal 2017 federal pay raise to 5.3 percent.

A spokesman for Connolly’s office said the latest version of the Federal Adjustment of Income Rates (FAIR) Act would likely drop in the third week of February, and it builds on the President’s proposed 1.6 percent pay raise included in the fiscal 2017 budget.

“While the President’s proposal marks a slight improvement over this year, it doesn’t come close to restoring what federal employees have lost over the past six years, including enduring pay freezes and a shutdown, or to reflecting what they are owed based on their quality of service,” Connolly said in a statement. “The FAIR Act demonstrates to our federal workforce that we value their service.”

The American Federation of Government Employees confirmed Connolly’s plans in a Feb. 12 statement. AFGE National President J. David Cox said the six years of stagnant pay have caused the decline of the “purchasing power of federal paychecks.”

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“The women and men who keep this country running deserve a standard of living that keeps up with inflation and rising wages, which is why this catch-up contribution is long overdue. Congress must pass this legislation,” Cox said. “We are not asking for any special treatment, just a catch-up contribution to start making up for the $182 billion that federal employees personally sacrificed to help get our nation through the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression.”

AFGE held a rally Feb. 8 calling for an increase. At the time Cox told reporters that a 5.3 percent hike might not happen, but “we are clearly putting on the record that we are owed the 5.3.”

Connolly proposed a 3.8 percent federal pay raise under the same bill name one year ago, but it didn’t go far. The bill had about two dozen sponsors, including Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) and Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).

An official in Hollen’s office said he would be signing on as an original cosponsor to Connolly’s latest bill.

In mid-December the President signed an executive order for a  1.3 percent pay raise for federal and military workers. That raise went into effect Jan. 1. OPM released a memo outlining the salary tables.

The President sent a letter to congressional leaders in August authorizing across-the-board and locality pay adjustments. He sent a second similar letter a few weeks later to congressional leaders saying he was authorizing a pay adjustment for uniformed service members.

In November, Obama also backed locality pay increases for civilian federal employees in 2016.