Fedweek

The White House has threatened to veto a bill (HR-3351) set for House voting which would provide an average 3.1 percent federal employee raise in January.

While the administration early this year proposed paying no raise next January, the measure would provide a 2.6 percent across the board increase plus locality pay of another 0.5 percentage points—resulting in raises varying from somewhat below to somewhat above 3.1 percent.

In a policy statement on the general government spending bill set for a vote this week, the administration said that it “continues to support the alignment of pay with strategic human capital objectives. A 3.1 percent pay increase presents long-term fixed costs, yet fails to address the most strategic human capital issues facing the federal workforce.”

It used similar language last year in opposing a 1.9 percent raise pushed by Congress, a raise that ultimately was paid retroactive to the start of this year, after the year started with a freeze that took effect by default because no bill addressing the raise had been enacted on time.

Like that raise, the 3.1 percent increase would have to be absorbed from other agency accounts with no new money added, a technique that proponents of raises commonly use to make it more palatable to fiscal conservatives.