President Reagan is to propose giving a 4.3 percent pay raise to the uniformed military in 1989, more than twice the increase that civilian federal employees are scheduled to receive, according to administration officials.
Both military and civilian federal employees are scheduled to receive 2 percent pay hikes this year, and under the budget agreement between the White House and Congress, civil servants will get
another 2 percent increase in
The Reagan proposal, which is expected to be submitted to Congress Feb. 18 in the president's fiscal 1989 budget, is likely to
spark renewed debate on Capitol Hill over pay differences between soldiers and bureaucrats.
Some experts believe that civilian government employees are underpaid relative to their uniformed counterparts, and that the quality of public service is declining as a result.
In a recent study, the General Accounting Office, an investigative arm of Congress, calculated that military compensation is 27 percent higher, on average, than that of civil servants.
The Office of Management and Budget recommended that all federal employees -- including the military -- receive a 2 percent raise in 1989, but Defense Secretary Frank C. Carlucci made a strong plea
for the 4.3 percent figure, officials said.
Carlucci argued that the higher increase is needed to keep the volunteer Army staffed with high-quality recruits.
The Pentagon chief agreed to offset the approximately $1 billion in added payroll costs by finding savings elsewhere in the military budget.
Reagan is expected to give his final blessing to the proposal later this week, officials said. It is not clear, they acknowledged, how Congress will react; last year, lawmakers rejected a Reagan proposal to give the military a bigger raise.
Congressional aides said that some lawmakers believe the administration agreed to give 2 percent pay hikes to both military and civilian personnel in 1989 as part of the budget deal. But no formal accord was struck, aides said.