WASHINGTON, DC – The bipartisan Washington regional delegation, led by House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD), today sent a letter to President Bush requesting that he include the principle of pay parity for federal civilian and military employees in his upcoming fiscal year 2006 budget proposal.
Representative Hoyer was the lead sponsor of the Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act, which currently governs federal employee pay. Earlier this month, Rep. Hoyer sent a letter to Office of Management and Budget Deputy Director Clay Johnson III indicating his willingness to discuss with the Bush Administration alternative federal employee pay proposals that continue to value federal employee work equal to private sector work.
The text of the letter to President Bush and the list of signatories follows:
January 25, 2005
The Honorable George W. Bush
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500
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 2006 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 adjustments between our military and federal civilian sectors, due to the essential service military and civilian employees provide to our Nation and the vast wage gap that exists between public and private sector wages. In nearly 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 as a means under the General Schedule system to help achieve pay comparability between the public and private sector. In addition, the House overwhelmingly approved House Resolution 581 by a vote of 299-126 on March 31, 2004, reiterating the long-standing sense of the House regarding this issue.
We cannot express strongly enough the importance of continuing the tradition of pay parity between military and civilian employees in the coming fiscal year. As we fight the war on terrorism at home and abroad, both the Armed Services and the Federal civilian workforce are integral to fulfilling the role of government for the American people. We believe anything less than an equal pay adjustment in 2006 sends the regrettable message that the services civilians 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 remain open to initiatives that seek to find ways to more effectively allocate our human capital expenditures and help ensure the Federal government is able to recruit, retain, and reward the individuals necessary to fulfill its duties to the American taxpayer. In the meantime, we urge you to propose a single pay adjustment for fiscal year 2006 that recognizes the essential contributions of our nation’s uniformed and civilian employees.
Thanking you and with kindest personal regards, we are
Benjamin L. Cardin
Elijah E. Cummings
Thomas M. Davis III
James P. Moran Jr.
C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger
Chris Van Hollen
Frank R. Wolf
Albert R. Wynn
Eleanor Holmes Norton