Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., and Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, introduced legislation on Thursday that would give Federal government civilian employees a 3.6 percent pay raise in 2020.

The bill–the Federal Adjustment of Income Rates Act (FAIR Act)–states, “For calendar year 2020, the percentage adjustment under section 5303 of title 5, United States Code, in the rates of basic pay under the statutory pay systems (as defined in section 5302 of title 5, United States Code) shall be 3.6 percent.”

President Trump in August announced a freeze on Federal civilian pay for 2019, after both houses of Congress had agreed to a 1.9 percent pay increase.

Last month, the House voted to approve a 2.6 percent pay increase for civilian Federal employees for 2019, with 29 House Republicans agreeing to the measure. That increase would match the one being given to military personnel. The Senate has not voted on a corresponding bill.

In offering the bill for the 2020 pay increase, both Connolly and Schatz argued that the partial Federal government shutdown that ran from Dec. 22 to Jan. 25 justifies the proposed pay increase.

“Federal employees are patriots, not pawns. Yet for 35 days the federal workforce was held hostage by the President,” Connolly said in a statement. “We have a responsibility to make sure these public servants know that we respect the dignity of their work. The FAIR Act is a demonstration of our commitment to reversing years of pay freezes, furloughs, and Trump Shutdowns.”

“The shutdown was insult on top of injury,” Schatz said in a statement. “For years federal workers in Hawai‘i and across the country have watched their earnings get cut as a result of sequestration and a freeze on pay. Then they had to suffer through the longest government shutdown in history. It’s time to do right by federal workers.”

Unions representing Federal civilian workers applauded the measure.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk's Assistant Copy & Production Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.