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White House again calls for federal employee raise

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With the House set to start voting over the next several days on the first of the spending bills for the upcoming fiscal year, the White House has again called for a federal employee raise to be paid in January.

“The Administration urges the Congress to provide the proposed 1.0 percent pay increase for Federal civilian employees. As the President stated in his [fiscal year] 2014 Budget, a permanent pay freeze is neither sustainable nor desirable,” the administration said in policy statements on pending bills to fund the Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs departments.

The bills neither endorse nor oppose a pay raise, which would be the first across-the-board increase since January 2010. Instead, they say that “should the President provide a civilian pay raise for fiscal year 2014, it is assumed that the cost of such a pay raise will be absorbed within existing appropriations.” A House-passed budget outline also is neutral regarding a raise, in contrast to past House positions that favored extending the salary rate freeze.

The House Appropriations Committee plans to move this week two more of the dozen spending bills for the budget year that starts in October, those covering defense and agriculture. The counterpart Senate committee has not started drafting its version of the bills.

In its budget proposal released in April, the administration also recommended a 1 percent raise for military personnel in January. A move is underway in the House to boost that to 1.8 percent.

Although federal salary rates have been frozen since the last across-the-board raise was paid, some employees have received raises during that time for promotion, performance, or advancement up the steps of a pay grade.