Question: Does President Trump’s order for a 1.9 percent federal pay raise in January mean we’re getting it for sure?
Answer: It’s not an “order” but a raise of that amount now seems virtually certain.
Under the complex federal pay law, if Congress does not set a General Schedule raise by the end of a year, one takes effect automatically in January. Congress so far has not actively considered a raise, extending a policy of action by inaction it has followed for years.
Trump on Thursday specified that if that silence again continues, the default raise will be 1.9 percent (preventing a default raise exceeding 26 percent). There remains an outside chance that Congress will put a higher or lower figure in a spending bill, and if that is signed into law, that number will prevail.
Trump also said he would divide the raise: 1.4 percent for everyone, with the money for the remainder paid in amounts differing by locality; exact figures would be set later in the year. Blue-collar employees, under a separate pay system, likely would get the same amount.
The Washington-Baltimore locality typically gets one of the highest raises — in this case, probably just above 2 percent.