Today, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) spending bill for FY 2019. During the committee’s consideration, several amendments were considered, including one affecting federal employee pay. The bill covers the IRS, SEC, CFTC and contains provisions that are applicable to agencies and employees government-wide.
Regarding government-wide provisions, NTEU has advocated on Capitol Hill given the combination of pay freezes and meager pay raises in recent years, and a robust economy, for Congress to reassert its pay-setting role and to provide a January 2019 pay increase, despite the President’s call for a pay freeze. NTEU is pleased that the FSGG bill provides an average pay increase of 1.9% for 2019, comprised of a 1.4 % across-the-board pay increase and 0.5 % for increases to locality pay rates (rates vary by specific locality pay area).
During the committee’s consideration of the bill, Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) offered an amendment to strike the pay increase from the bill, saying that “now is not the time” and noting some studies that show federal workers are paid more than their private sector counterparts. FSGG Subcommittee Chairman James Lankford (R-OK), FSGG Subcommittee Ranking Member Chris Coons (D-DE), Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) spoke out in support of the pay increase. The amendment was defeated by a vote of 2-29. Senators Kennedy and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) were the only senators who voted in favor of the amendment. Therefore, the Senate measure heads to the floor with a federal employee raise for 2019.
NTEU has also championed the continuation of the moratorium on A-76 competitions that has been carried in the Senate FSGG bill for the past several years and which is again for FY19. We are pleased that the moratorium language is now in both the House and Senate Appropriations Committee-passed FSGG bills. We have seen time and again the unfortunate results of outsourcing government work—increased costs, waste, fraud and abuse, in addition to less transparency and accountability for taxpayers, and appreciate the continued efforts of Congress to stop outsourcing efforts, particularly at a time when the administration is looking to make federal staffing reductions.
As the FSGG spending bill moves to the full House and Senate for consideration, NTEU will continue to push for adequate funding so that agencies can meet their missions, and to secure the pay increase for 2019 while fighting off riders that adversely impact the ability of employees to do their jobs.