Budget deal allows pay increase for federal workers

Federal employees would receive a 1-percent pay raise next year under a bipartisan budget deal the House approved Thursday by a vote of 332-94.

MORE: Boehner attacks tea party groups as House approves budget deal

The pay bump would come in the form of a cost-of-living increase, something Congress has denied the federal workforce for the past three years.

President Obama said in an August letter to lawmakers that he would use his executive authority to set the pay raise for next year in motion. The increase would take effect automatically unless lawmakers intervene to stop or adjust it.

(Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg) (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

The budget bill represents the last realistic chance to block the proposed raise, but Congress has not added such a provision to the measure.

As such, Obama’s pledged pay increase will take effect next year as long as the Democrat-controlled Senate approves the fiscal deal.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) backed the bill on Tuesday, saying: “Because of this agreement, federal employees can get their cost-of-living increase and they will no longer face the uncertainties of furloughs and pay cuts.”

The budget deal would offset a portion of the sequester cuts scheduled for the next two years and increase the amount that future federal employees contribute toward their retirement benefits, starting with workers hired after Jan. 1.

Although Mikulski expressed support for the bill, she said she would have preferred legislation “closing tax loopholes and cancelling outdated Dust Bowl-era farm subsidies.”

Despite Congress holding back cost-of-living increases since 2010, some federal workers have earned extra pay through promotions, performance awards and by advancing up the steps of their pay grades.

Follow Josh Hicks on TwitterFacebook or Google+. Connect by e-mail at  josh.hicks@washpost.comVisit The Federal Eye, The Fed Page and Post Politics for more federal news. E-mail federalworker@washpost.com with news tips and other suggestions.

Josh Hicks covers Maryland politics and government. He previously anchored the Post’s Federal Eye blog, focusing on federal accountability and workforce issues.

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