Senate Joins in Silence on Raise

The Senate appears poised to join the House in remaining silent regarding a January 2018 federal employee raise, likely once again creating a situation that allows the President to set a raise by default.

The Senate Appropriations Committee has produced a general government appropriations bill that does not address a raise, months after the House approved, as part of a larger package a counterpart measure that also is silent. President Trump has indicated that in the absence of a figure being legislated, he would order a 1.9 percent default raise, to be split as 1.4 percent across the board and funds for the remaining 0.5 percentage point divided as GS locality pay. A later order would be needed to specify the exact amounts by locality.

Like the House measure, the Senate version further would extend policies of paying wage grade employees the same raises as GS employees locally, and of denying a raise to political appointees, while raising the pay caps applying to some in the upper reaches of GS-15 as well as to those in the SES and other high-level pay systems.

The Senate measure further would, like the House version, continue a long-standing ban against agencies starting “Circular A-76” studies to consider contracting out federal jobs to the private sector. The Trump administration budget proposal had sought to allow agencies to conduct such studies as part of their reorganization efforts, although on a more targeted basis than had been used in the past.