The House Appropriations Committee, on a voice vote today, approved a 3.1 percent pay raise next year for about 1.8 million federal employees.

The committee's action follows a long-standing practice of providing civil service employees with a raise equal to that provided the military. The Bush administration had recommended a 2.3 percent raise for federal employees next year.

In past years, the committee's pay decision has usually decided the issue for the year, with the Senate and the White House allowing the raise to go forward.

Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), a member of the House committee, offered the pay raise amendment, which was supported by Reps. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.) and James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.), two other committee members.

Just as Hoyer began speaking on the amendment, Rep. Joseph Knollenberg of Michigan, the Republican manager for the legislation, announced that Republicans would accept it. That settled the issue, but drew objections from Rep. Ernest J. Istook Jr. (R-Okla.), who said federal pay raises have been rising faster than inflation in recent years.

In a statement issued after the committee action, Hoyer stressed that military personnel and federal civilian employees "work side-by-side for the same employer . . . so it is appropriate to provide them with equal pay adjustments."