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WASHINGTON - Two congressional leaders on federal employee issues, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Government Reform Chairman Tom Davis (R-VA), joined forces today to introduce a bipartisan Sense of the Congress Resolution which calls for parity in pay adjustments between military and civilian employees.
"Every year we fight for fair pay adjustments for civilian federal employees and for parity with military pay adjustments," said Congressman Hoyer. "This year it is even more critical that we win this fight because at the same time that we are calling on our federal employees to work harder and better in the war against terrorism the Bush Administration is floating ideas that could possibly shortchange them. That would not be the best way to motivate a workforce.
"As a first step in fighting for fair pay for federal employees, Tom Davis and I are introducing this bipartisan resolution today with the support of the regional delegation," concluded Hoyer.
"This resolution is based on the simple premise that both civilian and military employees are the government's greatest asset," Congressman Davis said. "As we fight the war on terrorism at home and abroad, respecting the tradition of pay parity is more important than ever."
Pay parity is part of the effort to address the critical recruitment and retention problems in both the Armed Services and the Federal civilian workforce. 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 Bureau of Labor Statistics, a 33-percent pay gap exists between the civilian employees and their private sector counterparts and an estimated 10-percent gap exists between the military service members and the private sector.
Every day, Federal civilian and military employees work side-by-side doing important work to serve and defend the United States. In the Department of Defense alone there are 669,000 civilian federal employees (there is a total of 1.8 million civilian federal employees across the country). Both the House and Senate have consistently recognized in the past that Congress and the White House should not undermine the morale of dedicated Federal public servants by failing to bring their pay adjustments in line with military personnel - adhering to the principle of pay parity 15 out of the last 18 years.
Last year, Congress expressed strong bipartisan support for a minimum 4.l% adjustment for the federal workforce in 2003, attaching its recommendation to both the House and Senate versions of the FY 2003 Budget Resolution. In addition, both the House-passed Treasury-Postal Appropriations bill and the recently passed Senate Omnibus Appropriations resolution for FY 2003 included a legislative provision that provides for a 4.l% adjustment to federal employee pay for 2003. The Omnibus Appropriations resolution is expected to go to conference this week.
Other original cosponsors include Representatives Neil Abercrombie, Tom Allen, Sander Levin, Jim Moran, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Max Sandlin, Frank Wolf, Al Wynn, and Chris Van Hollen.