One area where inaction in Congress is on track to produce a definite outcome involves the federal pay raise. Spending bills so far have been silent on that issue, paving the way for a 1.6 percent average increase to take effect in January. That’s the amount the White House proposed originally and that was repeated in a late-August order setting a default raise in case no figure is legislated by the end of the year. Under the order, a 1 percent raise would be paid across the board and the funds for the remainder would be divided as locality pay, resulting in raises varying from slightly below to slightly above 1.6 percent. Exact figures are still to be determined, and will be based on data the Labor Department presents to the Federal Salary Council at its annual meeting. That meeting hasn’t yet been scheduled but typically occurs in October or November. The raises would then be finalized by another executive order, typically issued in late December. Congress could yet take some action on the raise issue which if signed into law would override the 1.6 percent figure but it has shown no interest so far this year in doing anything but allowing a raise to take effect by default, as it has done the last three years.
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