government money (Florence-Joseph McGinn/


House votes for 2.6 percent federal pay raise

In the first week back from the longest shutdown in American history, the House voted to give feds a pay raise.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), passed the House by a 259 to 161 vote, with 230 Democrats and 29 Republicans voting in favor. The legislation gives a 2.6 pay increase to federal civilian employees in fiscal year 2019, equal to the raise for military personnel that passed in the Defense budget bill last year. During the shutdown, the White House finalized plans to freeze civilian pay.

"On the heels of the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, I believe it is appropriate for the House of Representatives to take up legislation to show federal employees that we in Congress appreciate the work that they do and the sacrifices they make," Connolly said. "This bill is a down payment on treating our federal workforce with the respect it deserves."

Federal unions hailed the passage of the bill.

"The shutdown underscored the need for keeping federal pay fair and competitive," said National Treasury Employees Union President Tony Reardon. "The reputation of the federal government as a good employer took a big hit during the shutdown. Fair pay is one way to make the government an attractive option for talented employees. Another, of course, is to never shut down the government again."

On the other site of the Capitol, Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) introduced companion legislation for a 2.6 percent pay raise on Jan. 29. The Senate's Republican majority represents an obstacle to the bill reaching the president's desk. The Senate did, however, approve a 1.9 percent pay raise for federal employees by a 96 to 2 margin in the December funding bill that ultimately stalled and prompted the shutdown. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has not indicated when or if the Senate will take up the new measure.

Reader comments

Thu, Feb 7, 2019

A more reasonable approach is the repay all federal employees who were cheated out of January pay raises by Clinton, Obama, Bush Jr and Trump. One payment retroactive to all employees (current and to the ones who just retired). Of course Schumer, Pelosi, Warren, McConnel are all out of touch when it comes to daily living expenses so this would never take place. Our commerce secretary surely knows what compensation is about.

Sun, Feb 3, 2019

Well we can thank both former and current presidents, congress and senate of the fed bashing that has been taking placed for years. Clinton, Bush Jr, Obama and now the current resident in the white house. Look at them they were all out of touch with reality and thanks to their stints in the white house they all have made millions on the backs of average federal employees. No one has any interest in the federal employees including the unions who bilk rank and file employees by making them pay dues. Not a union basher, just indicating what reality is.

Sun, Feb 3, 2019 Anne Alaska

Now the media makes big deal or of this, but when Obama ws oin office it ead perfectly fine to make us go THREE years with ZERO pay increases. He was the only president in decades that did that. Trump attempts to do it and NOW you pay attention? Those three years cost my co workers and I thousands of dollars in wages and put us far, FAR behind our civilian counterparts. Where were these desenters then? Yes, we deserve decent increases, but it would have looked better and been way more impressive had they spoken up for us during those years.

Fri, Feb 1, 2019

It's always small raises for gov't employees. The cost of living eats it up before we get it. Get Real, I work for the Gov't TRUST ME !

Fri, Feb 1, 2019 Larry Fresno

I love the poster above who says that I shouldn't get a 2.6% raise because "the government is filled with waste." 20 years in as a social worker helping mentally ill vets and I am waste? That's very kind of you and so humane. Just so you know, my landlord increased by rent $210 per month in January. I make $40K per year, which is what most real govt workers get but which CNN and Fox News doesn't tell you about. What they tell about is what happens in D.C. Not in Fresno, Omaha, Fargo, Kansas City, Birmingham and Orlando. A 2.6% raise will amount to $1,040 before Uncle Sam and the state of California gets to it. By that time, I expect to take home maybe $600. Is that such a burden for you? You probably even pay for a cent of it. Still, that won't even cover for 3 months of the $210 monthly increases in rent that I will be experiencing. Somehow I need to come up with another $1,260. All of this is because for the past 15 years, we have not been receiving COLA increases to keep up with inflation.

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Edward A. Zurndorfer Certified Financial Planner
Mike Causey Columnist
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