Prospects for federal employees receiving a pay raise in January by default have advanced a step with approval by the House Appropriations Committee of a spending bill that makes no mention of a raise.

Through such silence, Congress has in effect approved the White House’s proposed raises for the last four years. President Trump has proposed 1.9 percent for January 2018. The committee’s consideration of the general government appropriations bill was the most likely point for any bid to set a different figure.

The measure further would allow a restart of the OMB Circular A-76 process in which federal jobs are compared with bids for possible contracting-out. The same measure has carried language barring agencies from conducting such studies since late in the Bush administration. Silence on the ban would end it.

However, many more steps remain in the budget process before policy on either issue is finalized.