As expected, President Obama has issued an order setting a 1.6 percent average GS pay raise to take effect by default effective with the first full pay period in January, in the absence of a raise figure being set by law before the end of this year.

The raise would be split: 1 percentage point would be paid across the board and funding for the remainder paid in varying amounts according to the indicated pay gaps among the GS localities. The 1.6 percent amount could yet be overridden in the budget process, but so far Congress has continued a pattern of allowing the White House amount by not addressing the raise at all.

Spending bills do, however, state that any GS increase that is paid also would apply to wage grade employees but not to political appointees, although executive schedule pay rates would increase on paper, raising the caps applying to the SES and several other high-level pay systems. All of those provisions have been the same in recent years.