The problems with the SEC pay reform idea (see above) illustrate that even initiatives to address specific problems will have a hard time gaining approval. The SEC says it is losing employees to the other financial regulatory agencies that already have authority to pay up to 40 percent more than standard general schedule rates for a position. The same argument could be made in favor of certain agencies or occupations. There is concern in Congress both about the cost of loosening the pay rules and about further fracturing the federal pay system. But in lieu of overall pay reform, piece-by-piece pay reform-based on making a case that an agency or occupational series needs special attention--seems to hold the best potential for addressing the pay gap with private industry.
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Both the House and Senate could hold floor votes at any time on the key bill for federal employees, the financial services-general government measure, both versions of which are silent so far on the issue of a federal employee raise in January.