The bipartisan Washington, DC regional delegation, led by House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD), sent a letter today to President Bush urging that he support the principle of pay parity in his upcoming fiscal year 2005 budget proposal. The bipartisan group included Democratic Whip Hoyer, Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA), Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA), Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Rep. Al Wynn (D-MD), Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), Rep. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger. The text of the letter is as follows:
Dear Mr. President:
As members of Congress representing tens of thousands of federal civilian employees, we are writing to ask that you embrace the principle of pay parity in your fiscal year 2005 budget proposal that you will shortly be sending to Congress.
Pay parity is not a new concept. Historically, Congress has expressed strong bipartisan support for parity in pay between our military and federal civilian sectors, in recognition of the important role that both play in our nation’s defense and well being.
For 15 of the last 17 years, the pay adjustments for military employees and civilian employees have been the same. Indeed, the fiscal year 2004 Omnibus Appropriations Conference report now pending in the Senate includes a pay parity provision. If enacted, it will provide a 4.1 percent average pay adjustment to both civilian and military personnel.
We cannot express strongly enough the importance of continuing the tradition of pay parity between military and civilian employees. Rather than a partisan issue, pay parity is an important recognition by the country’s leaders of the sacrifices we continue to ask of our federal workers every day. Just as military employees are fighting to maintain our freedoms and security, civilian employees are on the front lines protecting our freedoms here at home.
We believe anything less than the pay adjustment proposed for military employees in 2005 sends the regrettable message that the services they provide to America every day are not highly valued. In addition, the federal government is facing a “human capital crisis”, with many of our most experienced employees poised to retire. It is critical that we are able to recruit quality employees in the future.
We urge you to propose a single pay adjustment for fiscal year 2005 that recognizes the essential contributions of our nation’s uniformed and civilian employees.
(Please see the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) statement in support of this initiative here.)