Federal workers could get bigger raise than troops (subscription only)
As House leaders approved a $377.6 billion Pentagon funding bill, they vowed to try to prevent federal workers from getting a bigger pay raise Jan. 1 than service members.
A bigger raise for federal civilians is a possibility because the House version of the 2007 defense appropriations bill, which totals $4 billion less than what the Bush administration requested, includes funding for a 2.2 percent military pay raise, while the House’s Transportation, Treasury, and Housing and Urban Development funding bill would provide a 2.7 percent raise for federal workers.
Here’s how the gap emerged: Most years, President Bush calls for the military to receive a larger pay increase than non-military federal workers. Each time, Congress waffles and raises the non-military increase to match the military increase. For instance, last year Bush called for a 3.1% military raise and a 2.3% civilian employee raise. By the time the budgets were passed Congress had increased the civilian raise to equal that of the military.
Well, this year, Bush called for both military and civilian employees to receive equal 2.2% pay increases. So what does Congress do?
- It decides that the military deserves more and included authorization for a 2.7% military raise
- Then Congress decides that civilians shouldn’t be shortchanged and increases the authorized civilian raise to match the newly-authorized military raise at 2.7%
- Then Congress passes the civilian raise at 2.7%
- Finally, Congress fails to pass the military raise at 2.7% and instead passes it at 2.2%, half a percent behind the civies
(Incidentally, Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) is part of the group working to rectify the gap. I mention it because I’m a bit critical of Murtha at times and want to be fair when I happen to agree with him.)
Message from Congress to Military: Not only are you screwed, but we’re morons.
More: Reverse Pay Parity