The Washington Post
Eight Washington area House members have announced plans to offer an amendment that would ensure civil service employees get the same raise next year as the military -- 3.5 percent.
In a letter to House Appropriations Committee Chairman C.W. Bill Young (R-Fla.) and ranking Democrat David R. Obey (Wis.), the eight lawmakers urged them to support "parity in pay adjustments."
The letter pointed out that on March 31, the House voted 299 to 126 in favor of providing parity raises to the civil service and the military in 2005.
"This important resolution reiterated the long-standing sense of the House regarding annual federal employee pay adjustments," the letter said, noting that "in nearly every year over the last two decades the annual pay adjustments have been identical."
The eight lawmakers said, "We firmly believe it is imperative to continue this tradition." The men and women of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard are fighting terrorism and are being supported by civil service employees at the Defense Department, FBI, CIA, Secret Service, State Department and other agencies, the letter writers said.
The letter was signed by Reps. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.), Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.), Jo Ann S. Davis (R-Va.), James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.), Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.), Albert R. Wynn (D-Md.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.).
House-Senate negotiators are working on defense authorization and appropriations bills that would provide a 3.5 percent raise to the military next year. In his fiscal 2005 budget plan, President Bush recommended a 1.5 percent raise for the civil service.
The eight lawmakers said they would offer the pay parity amendment when the Appropriations Committee takes up the fiscal 2005 spending bill for the Transportation and Treasury departments. The bill, crafted by Rep. Ernest J. Istook Jr. (R-Okla.), was approved in subcommittee last week.
The Bush administration opposes the pay parity approach, contending that the president's proposal would offset the rise in inflation. The administration also asked Congress to set aside payroll dollars to reward the best workers rather than provide across-the-board raises.