This item has been updated.
White House officials declined to comment on Sunday.
The 1.3 percent increase would be more than the 1 percent pay bump given to troops and federal workers for the past two fiscal years. The economic downturn and concern about federal deficits led Obama to recommend no increase in federal employee salary rates for January 2011 and 2012, to which Congress acquiesced. For January 2013, Obama did recommend a 0.5 percent raise, but Congress voted to deny it and he went along with that. Pay for some federal employees was frozen for that entire time while others received raises due to advancement within their pay grades or through promotions.
Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), who represents a Northern Virginia district that is home to tens of thousands of current and retired federal employees and military personnel, said in a statement that federal workers “have weathered the effects of sequestration, a government shutdown, and pay freezes. I applaud President Obama’s decision to fairly compensate these hard working men and women for the jobs they perform on our behalf.”
But Obama’s proposal falls far short of a bill proposed by Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.) more than 30 other congressional Democrats including Beyer that would give federal workers a 3.8 percent pay raise in fiscal 2016 to keep pace with cost of living increases.
Pay hikes for rank-and-file folks on the federal payroll have fallen significantly through the years. There was an 11 percent pay increase in fiscal 1972, but during the Obama presidency, the average raise for the federal workforce has been lower than for any other administration dating back to at least 1970, based on data from a Congressional Research Service report.
Other details of Obama’s budget request were released Sunday by the White House, including plans for a new six-year, $478 billion public works program that would be paid for with a one-time 14 percent tax on overseas corporate profits.
J. David Cox Sr., president of the American Federation of Government Employees, said Beth Cobert, deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, called to inform him about the pay raise. She told him that the president would not seek any increase in employee contributions toward their retirement program, as some Republicans have suggested.
“I still believe we deserve better than 1.3,” Cox said, “but it is better than 1 percent,” which was the increase this year and last.
Cox and other union leaders support the 3.8 percent increase that congressional Democrats proposed.
“We’re going to do everything we can to increase that amount” proposed by Obama, Cox added.
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