The draft appropriations bills released by the Senate Committee on Appropriations today would put a pay freeze in place for civilian Federal employees in fiscal year 2021 – falling below even the Trump administration’s one percent pay increase proposal – while providing a three percent pay raise for members of the military, which matches the number from the White House.
The civilian pay freeze, included in the Financial Services and General Government draft bill, would leave employees at the same salary as fiscal year 2020. The bill does not elaborate on why this pay freeze would be applied, and the bill language applies for all civilian employees and senior executives.
The pay freeze proposal puts the Senate below what both the House and White House have put forward. The White House budget included a one percent pay raise for Federal civilian employees with no adjustments to locality pay, and the House’s version of the Financial Services and General Government bill did not include a mention of a Federal pay raise or pay freeze, essentially approving the White House’s one percent increase. Senate and House negotiators will need to reconcile the differences in these bills before sending them to the President for approval. The President must also sign an executive order authorizing changes in pay once approved by Congress.
The military pay increase is less likely to run into resistance, as the three percent increase matches what the President and House proposed in their budget bills. In FY20, members of the military received a 3.1 percent pay raise.
“By and large, these bills are the product of bipartisan cooperation among members of the committee. As negotiations with the House begin in earnest, I look forward to working with Chairwoman Lowey, Vice Chairman Leahy, and Ranking Member Granger to resolve our differences in a bipartisan manner,” said Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, in a statement.
“Our goal is to work with the House to conference all twelve appropriations bills and avert a government shutdown … The twelve bills being released by the Chairman will help us move forward in this process,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., ranking member of the committee, in a statement.