The House has passed the general government appropriations bill (HR-5485) that leaves room for a federal employee raise in January to be set by default by not addressing the raise issue. That strategy also is being followed by the Senate in its own version of the bill (S-3067). That sets up a replay of the last three years in which President Obama set a default figure through a late-August message to Congress; that would take effect unless it is overridden before year’s end—an unlikely event, under the precedent of recent years. The figure most likely will be the 1.6 percent Obama recommended in his budget plan earlier this year, with a decision on splitting out part of the raise as locality pay to come later. The administration made no reference to the raise issue in its comments on the bill, which also would allow agencies to restart the Circular A-76 process of comparing federal jobs to private sector bids. The Senate version of the bill would keep that moratorium in place, however, and the House has separately voted to keep it in effect at DoD, which has the majority of jobs potentially subject to contracting out.
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