Bipartisan Senate, House Leaders To Introduce Pay Parity Release

Resolutions Show Strong Bipartisan, Bicameral Support for Parity Between Federal Employee, Military Pay Adjustments

For Immediate Release:

February 1, 2005

Contact:Stacey Farnen Bernards
(202) 225 - 3130

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Paul Sarbanes (MD) and House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) will lead a bipartisan group of House and Senate members in introducing resolutions in both chambers today that call for parity in pay adjustments for military and civilian employees in Fiscal Year 2006.

“The civilian federal employees who strive every day to keep our country safe, strong and prosperous deserve a fair pay adjustment that rewards their hard work.  At a time when our country faces threats to our security at home and abroad, it is more important than ever that we provide adequate pay and pay adjustments to help recruit and retain quality civilian federal employees to serve the American people,” Hoyer said today.

“The bipartisan, bicameral support for this resolution sends a strong message to President Bush that Congress is united behind the principle of pay parity, which will help ensure fair pay for civilian federal employees.  We hope that he will incorporate pay parity into his upcoming Fiscal Year 2006 budget proposal,” Hoyer added.

“The dedication of both the uniformed services and our civilian employees embody the greatness of our Nation, day in and day out, through their commitment to public services,” said Sarbanes.  “Providing equitable pay raises for federal employees is not just an issue of fairness.  It is also critical to recruiting and retaining talented individuals in public service, and to successfully administering our federal programs.”
 
“Congress has demonstrated a bipartisan and longstanding commitment to the principal of pay parity over the years and I hope the Congress and the Administration can once again support this bi-partisan, bicameral effort,” concluded Sarbanes.

There are 1.8 million civilian federal employees across the country - in the Department of Defense alone there are over 600,000 civilian federal employees.  Over the past two decades, both the House and Senate have consistently recognized that Congress and the Executive Branch should not undermine the morale of dedicated Federal public servants by failing to bring their pay adjustments in line with military personnel.

The principle of parity stems from the recognition that the pay for civilian and military employees simply has not kept pace with increases in the private sector.  According to the most recent studies, a 32 percent pay gap exists between the civilian employees and their private sector counterparts and an estimated 4.4 percent gap exists between the military service members and the private sector. 

In addition to Sarbanes, the sponsors of the Senate resolution are Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), John Warner (R-VA), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Mark Dayton (D-MN), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Jon Corzine (D-NJ), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Patty Murray (D-WA), Joe Lieberman (D-CT), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and George Allen (R-VA).

In addition to Hoyer, the sponsors of the House resolution are 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 Senate resolution is as follows:

Expressing the sense of Congress that there should continue to be parity between the adjustments in the pay of members of the uniformed services and the adjustments in the pay of civilian employees of the United States.

Whereas members of the uniformed services of the United States and civilian employees of the United States contribute to the general welfare of the United States, maintain the Nation’s defenses, and ensure the security of the homeland;

Whereas civilian employees of the United States play a crucial role in the fight against terrorism, as exemplified by—(1) the civilian employees of the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense who are working to ensure the security of the United States; (2) the employees of the Intelligence Community and federal law enforcement who have played a critical role in the investigation of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and who are working to prevent further terrorist attacks; (3) the civilian employees of the Department of State who are working to maintain a broad and sustained international commitment to wipe out terrorism around the world; (4) the numerous skilled trade and craft civilian employees of the Federal Government who work side-by-side with the men and women of the armed forces to maintain and deploy our air and sea fleet safely and swiftly; and (5) the employees of the Centers For Disease Control within the Department of Health and Human Services who work every day protecting Americans from bioterrorism and those at the Department of Agriculture who strive to keep the Nation’s food supply safe;

Whereas Americans depend on civilian employees of the United States for a vast array of important services from high profile disaster relief in times of national or international emergencies to the reliable administration of the Social Security program;

Whereas civilian employees of the United States will continue to serve and defend the United States;

Whereas in fiscal year 2005 the Senate Budget Resolution supported an across-the-board pay raise for both members of the uniformed services and civilian employees of the United States; and

Whereas the House of Representatives adopted House Resolution 581 affirming the bipartisan commitment to pay parity for fiscal year 2005: Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), That it is the sense of Congress that rates of pay for all civilian employees of the United States should be adjusted at the same time, and in the same proportion, as are rates of pay for members of the uniformed services.

The text of the House resolution is as follows:

Expressing the sense of the Congress that, for fiscal year 2006, rates of compensation for civilian employees of the United States should be adjusted at the same time, and in the same proportion, as are rates of compensation for members of the uniformed services.

Whereas all members of the uniformed services and all civilian employees of the United States, often working side by side, make significant contributions to the general welfare, defense, and security of the Nation;

Whereas increases in the pay of members of the uniformed services and of civilian employees of the United States have not kept pace with increases in the overall pay levels of workers in the private sector, so that there now exists (1) a 32.13 percent gap between compensation levels of Federal civilian employees and compensation levels of private sector workers, and (2) an estimated 4.4 percent gap between compensation levels of members of the uniformed services and compensation levels of private sector workers; and

Whereas, in almost every year during the past two decades, there have been equal adjustments in the compensation of members of the uniformed services and the compensation of civilian employees of the United States:

Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That it is the sense of the Congress that, for fiscal year 2006, rates of compensation for all civilian employees of the United States should be adjusted at the same time, and in the same proportion, as are rates of compensation for members of the uniformed services.

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