While the actual federal pay raise is determined in the congressional budget process and employee organizations will fight as always for a higher increase on grounds that federal salaries still lag private sector pay by some 30 percent, 3.7 percent likely will be all that is allowed. Several employee-friendly members of Congress already have said they’ll try to jack up the raise to 4.2 percent. But that higher figure likely will be elusive. Administration officials already are touting the proposed the 3.7 percent increase—which follows a 4.8 percent rise last month—as larger than the private sector’s and pointing out that the two-year increase would be the largest in 15 years. With skepticism high on Capitol Hill about the officially indicated pay gap, that factor alone might be seen as enough reason to set the raise no higher.