The budget resolution takes no position on a 2016 federal employee raise, although one of the appropriations bills, a VA spending bill (HR-2920) that has now passed the House, does not include funding to cover a raise at the department. Instead it says that if a raise is paid, the VA would have to fund it from its general overhead accounts.That has been done many times in the past as a way to allow a raise without specifically funding it, and does not necessarily decrease the chances of a raise being paid. Nonetheless, the White House objected, issuing a statement renewing its call for 1.3 percent. The bill also reflects language in a measure passed earlier this year limiting how much VA can pay in employee performance awards and similar payments to $300 million a year through 2018; in recent years such payments have averaged nearly $400 million a year. Said the White House statement on the appropriations bill: “As VA attempts to enhance staffing to deliver better care to veterans, these reductions will hinder the department’s ability to recruit and retain personnel critical to the provision of benefits and services to veterans. The administration urges the Congress to provide the proposed 1.3 percent pay increase for federal civilian employees.” The House meanwhile is drafting a spending bill covering the legislative branch that would specifically deny a raise for members of Congress in 2016.
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