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Enactment of the agreement to fund agencies through the remainder of the fiscal year and the subsequent executive order finalizing an average 1.3 percent federal pay raise conclude the year for federal employee and retiree issues. The funding measure passed after a series of short-term extensions that headed off the threat of the kind of shutdown furloughs that happened in 2013; one of those extensions added funding to both the defense and non-defense sides of the budget, heading off the threat of the kind of sequestration-triggered furloughs that happened in 2013 as well. On pay, for the third straight year Congress allowed the President’s recommendation to take effect by default, this time with 1 percentage point paid across the board and the funds for the remainder parceled out as locality pay, resulting in raises ranging from 1.17 percent in the catchall rest of the U.S. locality to 1.46 percent in the Washington-Baltimore area. Congress similarly did not step into the decisions to create 13 new GS locality pay zones and to expand 21 of the 31 current metro area localities effective in January. However, the budget bill continued to cap wage grade raises at the local GS amount, even though wage grade employees fall under a separate locality pay system. The measure ordered no changes in basic benefits, but proposals such as raising the required contribution toward retirement and shifting more costs of health insurance onto enrollees may well appear yet again next year–especially since the parties plan to use the new year to more sharply define the differences between them and the main sponsor in the past, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., will be in his first full year as House Speaker.