Washington DC -- There is a growing bipartisan consensus in Congress to reject the president’s proposed pay freeze and instead give the men and women of the civil service a modest raise in 2019.
House Democrats and Republicans from around the country, in a flurry of public letters, are calling for an increase of at least 1.9 percent for federal employees. The Senate has already approved a 1.9 percent adjustment.
“There is a reason that Congress has the final word over federal pay. Members are hearing directly from their constituents, thousands of whom are federal workers, who simply want their paychecks to keep pace with inflation,” said National Treasury Employees Union President Tony Reardon. “NTEU welcomes the outpouring of support for federal employees, which is coming from both sides of the aisle and every region of the country.”
More than 100 members signed three letters explaining their support for the raise, including the need to recruit and retain skilled employees.
“The American people want a federal government that keeps them safe and secure and reliably delivers vital services,” eight House Democrats wrote to congressional leaders. “The individuals of our federal workforce clock in each day on behalf of that mission.”
The Labor Department reported on Friday that wages for U.S. workers in the private sector grew 2.9 percent over the last year. And Congress has already approved a 2.6 percent bump for federal employees in the military.
More than 160 House Democrats signed a second letter Friday saying middle-class federal employees and their families should not alone bear the brunt of spending cuts.
“It is plainly wrong to tell millions of our fellow Americans that we can afford lavish tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans but not what amounts to a cost-of-living adjustment for the civil servants who keep the government working,” they wrote.
Under the Federal Employee Pay Comparability Act federal employees should receive a 2.1 percent pay raise in January 2019.
A third letter signed by 23 House Republicans and Democrats said the scheduled raise is overdue, especially for those federal employees who work in law enforcement and national security.
“We must show our appreciation for their hard work and that we value their service to our country,” they wrote.
NTEU has also endorsed legislation from Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), H.R. 4775 and S. 2295, to provide a 3 percent pay adjustment for 2019 for federal workers.
“Our nation’s civil servants deserve the same consideration as our military servicemembers and private sector workers: a modest increase in pay to help keep up with the rising costs of food, housing, tuition and child care,” Reardon said.
NTEU represents 150,000 employees at 33 federal agencies and departments.