The White House has proposed giving federal workers a 1.3 percent pay increase in 2016.
Despite the raise trailing the rate of inflation and the rising cost of goods and services in the U.S., it is at the very least a faint recognition by the Obama Administration that federal workers deserve more than the pay freezes they have been receiving in recent years.
The White House unveiled the proposal in its 2016 budget blueprint, which was released earlier this month.
Since Congress will develop its own federal budget proposal and appropriations requests, lawmakers may, or may not, pay much attention to the administration’s budget blueprint.
With Republican control of both the House and the Senate and a wide, practically unbridgeable, political and ideological divide between Republicans and the White House, some believe the administration’s proposal is dead on arrival.
However such sweeping pronouncements by the media and other “expert” pundits does not mean federal workers may be left holding the bag again — that bag being empty in the form of another wage freeze.
The president can still exercise the executive powers of his office. In December, Obama gave federal workers a one percent raise for 2015 through an executive order. That followed a one percent raise in 2014. Prior to that, federal workers experienced three consecutive years of wage freezes.
Republicans could also be amendable to the pay hike for federal workers, in exchange for other behind-the-scenes horse trading that occurs among members of both parties during the budget negotiation process.
According to FierceGovernment, the administration’s budget sets aside $530 billion for non-defense spending and $561 billion for defense spending.
In January, Virginian Democratic Congressman Gerry Connolly proposed giving federal workers a 3.8 percent wage hike in 2016. Several Democratic lawmakers have expressed their support of the congressman’s bill.
However, it is unclear if the congressman’s proposal has any chance of becoming law or how it will jive with the administration’s proposal and other Republican priorities.
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