House Democrats this week proposed legislation that would give more than 2 million federal employees an 8.7% pay rise in 2024, a pay rise they say is necessary because of the impact of both the COVID pandemic and also suffered under the Trump administration.
“For years, federal employees have risked their health and safety working on the frontlines of this pandemic,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., who sponsored the bill. “They have faced the Trump administration’s ruthless personal attacks, unsafe work environments, wage freezes, government shutdowns, confiscation cuts, furloughs and mindless blanket hiring freezes.”
“Even so, our federal workforce delivers dedication and distinction every day,” he said. “Federal employees are our government’s greatest asset, and they deserve better.”
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Connolly’s Federal Adjustment of Income Rates Act, or the FAIR Act, would give federal employees an average raise of 8.7% next year after receiving a 4.6% raise this year. Senator Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, brought the same bill into the Senate and said the increase was warranted.
“Whether they’re inspecting our food, conducting medical research, or caring for our veterans, federal employees play an important role in our daily lives and deserve to be paid accordingly,” Senator Schatz said. “After years of wage freezes, our bill gives these dedicated civil servants a well-deserved raise.”
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The Federal Association of Active and Retired Federal Employees is also behind the draft law. The group’s president, William Shackelford, said pay rises were necessary to “counter a tightening labor market and rising private sector wages, a rising cost of living and an imminent wave of federal pensions.”
Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said the pay rise would help federal agencies “recruit and retain the workers we need to keep the country running.”
Randy Erwin, president of the National Federation of Federal Employees, said the increase is a minimal step to bring federal employees back to health in the face of rising inflation, which many economists believe reflects rising government spending.
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“The 8.7% increase listed in the FAIR Act is not a pay increase,” Erwin said. “It’s the minimal increase needed to offset dwindling government employees’ checking accounts, and it’s critical to attracting and retaining the best possible workforce.”
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President Biden signed an executive order late last year giving federal employees a 4.6% pay rise in 2023, a law that Congress did not override in the $1.7 trillion spending bill passed late that year wanted.