Bush's Pay Raise Proposal Under Challenge

December 3, 2002 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - President Bush's recent proposal for a 2003 civilian federal employee pay raise of 3.1% is being challenged by a Congressional leader fighting for a 4.1% increase.

In a letter on November 27, President Bush said a raise larger than 3.1% for civilian federal employees would jeopardize homeland security efforts.   However, Representative Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) disagrees and believes some of those federal employees deserving of a larger pay raise are vital to the nation’s continued security efforts.

“Federal employees from the CIA to the CDC [Center for Disease Control and Prevention] to the Defense Department are on the front lines of efforts to protect our communities from terrorists, ” Hoyer said.   “Anything less than the 4.1 percent pay adjustment sends the regrettable message that the services they provide to America every day are not valued.”

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President Bush’s original proposal in February 2002 called for civilian federal employees to receive 2.6% pay raise, while military service members would receive a 4.1% increase.   Hoyer and other representatives sought to increase that average civilian pay raise to 3.1%, plus a 1.0% average locality-based increase, to place civilian employees at the same level as military personnel.  

In July, the House of Representatives approved a 4.1% raise of civilian employees as part of the 2003 Treasury-Postal Appropriations bill.   The full Senate adjourned before the measure could be passed, leaving current federal organizations to operate under a continuing resolution set to expire on January 11, 2003.

Hoyer said he now plans to push for the 4.1% increase in the 2003 Treasury-Postal Appropriations bill or added to an omnibus bill when Congress reconvenes in 2003 to take up the remaining fiscal issues.

The final bill would still be subject to Senate and Presidential approval before it goes into effect.