WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today regarding the civilian federal pay adjustment proposed by President Bush in his Fiscal Year 2005 Budget:
“I am pleased that the President proposed a fair pay adjustment for the men and women of our armed services in his 2005 budget. However, I am very disappointed that President Bush continues to show a lack of regard for civilian federal employee’s hard work and service by ignoring the bipartisan principle of pay parity.
“By proposing two separate pay adjustments, 1.5% for civilian federal employees and 3.5% for military employees, the President is ignoring a principle that has been supported year after year by bipartisan majorities of Congress. This principle is followed to ensure that both military and civilian federal employees are fairly rewarded for their efforts to serve and protect our nation.
“I support the President’s goal of rewarding good work with incentives but that reward should be above and beyond a fair across-the-board pay adjustment. And therefore I am concerned with the President’s proposed Human Capital Performance Fund that could provide additional pay for federal employees.
“In a letter to me dated today in response to a letter I sent last month, Clay Johnson III, Deputy Director for Management at the Office of Management and Budget, stated that pay parity is not an incentive for recruiting and retaining quality employees. I don’t think that the hundreds of thousands of civilian federal employees at the Department of Defense or tens of thousands of employees in other agencies who are helping to secure our nation at home and abroad in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan would agree with that assertion. I certainly don’t.
“Civilian federal employees, from scientists at the Centers for Disease Control to CIA agents to border patrol agents, are a dedicated group of Americans who spend every day at work serving their country. I will fight for the principle of pay parity to provide them with a fair pay adjustment in 2005.”
Congressman Hoyer, a leader on federal employee issues, will introduce this week with Congressman Tom Davis (R-VA), and the entire bipartisan regional delegation, bipartisan legislation 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.