Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., along with 17 other Democrats, sent a letter to leaders of the House Appropriations Committee pressing them to include a 3.2 percent pay increase for Federal employees in their FY2022 Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) funding bill, as opposed to supporting the current 2.7 percent pay raise.

The FSGG bill, approved by a House subcommittee last week, does not include a specific pay raise figure in the FSGG funding bill – meaning the House committee officially endorses President Biden’s 2.7 percent pay raise plan outlined in his budget request last month. If Congress does not enact a specific pay raise before the end of the year, President Biden’s proposal will take effect.

Instead, Rep. Connolly is urging the committee to include a 3.2 percent pay raise for Federal employees, in line with the Federal Adjustment of Income Rates Act, which he introduced in January.

“Unfortunately, the Federal government has a history of chronic underinvestment in its most valuable asset – the Federal workforce,” the letter says. “In recent years Federal employees have been subject to multiple pay freezes, hiring freezes, and lost pay as the result of sequestration-related furloughs.”

The letter cites data from the Federal Salary Council, which found that Federal employees made an average of 23.1 percent less than their private-sector counterparts in 2020. Additionally, it notes that one-third of the Federal government is eligible to retire in five years and will face “a talent crisis” if it does not invest in its employees.

The current 2.7 percent pay increase backed by the House Appropriations Committee would be a significant step up from the 1 percent increase Federal civilian employees received in the FY2021 spending bill. However, it would be a decrease from the 3.1 percent bump Feds received in the FY2020 omnibus spending package.

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“It’s disappointing that House lawmakers failed to provide clear support for our nation’s public servants with explicit language in the appropriations bill,” the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association National President Ken Thomas said in a statement. “This leaves Federal employees in a precarious position. Now they must rely solely on President Biden to uphold a promise made in his budget request, rather than their elected representatives in Congress to secure a market-based pay increase.”

“Certainly the White House’s 2.7 percent proposal is a welcome start to the debate over what Federal employees deserve next year, but there is plenty of time for the administration and Congress to reconsider and give frontline Federal workers an average 3.2 percent,” National Treasury Employees Union President Tony Reardon said in a statement.

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.