WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today regarding language in President Bush’s Fiscal Year 2005 Budget Analytical Perspectives (page 218) which states:
“Pay Raises.-The Administration proposes a rule to enforce the annual pay raise for Federal employees in order to avoid the substantial future costs associated with higher pay raises. To accomplish this, the budget resolution would specify pay raises assumed for military and Federal civilian employees for the budget year. A point of order would lie against any provision containing a pay raise greater than that assumption.”
Below is Representative Hoyer’s statement:
“The Administration's proposal, as I understand it, is troubling on two levels. It shows a basic disregard for federal civilian employees as well as for the independence of the legislative branch's budget and appropriations processes. The Bush Administration tucked this controversial provision into the massive budget request with as little explanation as possible. This process should concern every member of Congress and every citizen.
“If the Bush Administration decides not to follow the FEPCA (Federal Employee Pay Comparability Act) law this year, as happened last year, I will use every available mechanism to ensure pay parity and will join with members on both sides of the aisle who support the bipartisan pay parity principle.”
Congressman Hoyer, a leader on federal employee issues, introduced this week with Congressman Tom Davis (R-VA), and the entire bipartisan regional delegation, bipartisan legislation (H. Con. Res. 356) that would put Congress on record as supporting the principle of pay parity.
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 5.4 percent gap exists between the military service members and the private sector.