The House could vote as soon as this week on an annual spending bill (HR-6147) that like similar measures of recent years takes no position on a federal employee raise. That strategy has allowed annual raises proposed by the White House to take effect by default, although for January 2019 that would mean a freeze by default since President Trump has recommended no raise.

In contrast, the version of the bill passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee would provide a 1.9 percent increase—the same total paid in January of this year—divided as 1.4 percentage points paid across the board and 0.5 percentage points parceled out in varying amounts by GS locality.

Federal employee organizations and some Democrats in Congress have been advocating a 3 percent increase but no amendment, to set a figure was offered at the House committee level, and none is planned for floor voting. Long-run, it appears that the raise will be decided in negotiations between the House and Senate, potentially not until late in the year.

The general government appropriations bill—which has been paired with the one covering the Interior Department and environmental agencies—further is silent on the White House’s proposal to create a $1 billion fund for performance rewards and to pay incentives in high-demand jobs, which the administration proposed as a tradeoff for freezing salaries.