No Pay Raise Until Congress Passes a Budget

By on August 21, 2012 in Current Events, Pay & Benefits with 105 Comments

President Obama said Tuesday in a letter to Congress that he will use his authority to give federal employees a 0.5% pay raise in 2013, but only if Congress passes a budget. Locality pay would remain unchanged.

There has been ongoing debate in Congress on federal pay with some proposals from the House suggesting extending the pay freeze as far forward as 2015. The White House is on record as being against extending the current pay freeze, having said federal employees deserve a raise in 2013, and announced earlier this year this year as part of its budget proposal that it wanted to break the pay freeze for the federal workforce with a 0.5% pay increase.

What are the chances Congress passes a budget? So far, they don’t look so good. Its inability of late to pass one has led to frustration among some members, leading to legislative proposals to incentivize Congress to pass a budget. Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL), for example, proposed legislation after the shutdown fiasco last year which said that Congress would have to pass a budget and all appropriations bills to fully fund the government, otherwise members of Congress wouldn’t get paid. 

An announcement was made at the end of July that Congress and the White House have agreed to a six month continuing resolution to fund the government through the early part of FY 2013. Since this would expire at the end of next March, a pay raise for the federal workforce is out of the question until at least April per the president’s announcement.

AFGE said that it sees the president’s announcement as an extension of the pay freeze.

In a statement, AFGE national president J. David Cox Sr. said, “He (President Obama) could have used his authority under the Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act (FEPCA) to set the pay alternative pay plan at 0.5 percent. Instead he has contradicted his own fiscal year 2013 budget promise of an end to the pay freeze. President Obama not only proposed a 0.5 percent federal pay adjustment for January 2013, he has also repeatedly referred to his support for an end to the two-year pay freeze in numerous statements to Congress.”

The text of the president’s letter to Congress is included below.

Dear Mr. Speaker:   (Dear Mr. President:)
I am transmitting an alternative plan for pay increases for civilian Federal employees covered by the General Schedule and certain other pay systems for 2013.

Title 5, United States Code, authorizes me to implement alternative pay plans for pay increases for civilian Federal employees covered by the General Schedule and certain other pay systems if, because of “national emergency or serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare,” I view the adjustments that would otherwise take effect as inappropriate. Civilian Federal employees have already made significant sacrifices as a result of a two-year pay freeze.  As our country continues to recover from serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare, however, we must maintain efforts to keep our Nation on a sustainable fiscal course.  This is an effort that continues to require tough choices and each of us to do our fair share.

Accordingly, I have determined that it is appropriate to exercise my statutory alternative plan authority under 5 U.S.C.5303(b) and 5304a to set alternative 2013 across-the-board and locality pay adjustments.  Specifically, I have determined that for 2013, across-the-board pay increases will be 0.5 percent,and the current locality pay percentages shown in Schedule 9of Executive Order 13594 of December 19, 2011, will remain at their 2012 levels.  This decision will not materially affect the Federal Government’s ability to attract and retain a well-qualified Federal workforce.

Finally, with respect to the anticipated continuing resolution, Congress should maintain current pay rates during the period of the continuing resolution.  Assuming such a continuing resolution is enacted, the adjustments described above would take effect after the continuing resolution expires.


© 2016 Ian Smith. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Ian Smith.

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce. Ian also has a background in web development and does the technical work for the web site and its sibling sites.

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

105 Replies

Comments RSS

  1. Eagle1 says:

    Thank you Obummer!   Enjoy your 4 million $ vacation to Hawaii during the holidays!

  2. Miguinn says:

    BO and Harry Reid have not proposed or passed a single budget coming out of the house… the gall of these two politicians who even give politicians a bad name!  

  3. Salemite4ever says:

    Maybe Congress should be classified as Federal Civilian pay.  We’ll see how quickly things are changed then.  Unfortunately, that will never happen.

  4. Lclon says:

    Clinton left America with a surplus. Bush came along and started two wars, gave big tax breaks to wealthy people when it should have gone only to middle income people and as a result, almost put America into a depression. Thank God Obama kept it from going there.  Since wars are ending or have already ended, that should bring the debt down quite a bit. With the wars ending, top earners pay their fair share of taxes, cutting out medicare fraud, big companies start paying taxes whereas they paid none in the past,  fixing the tax codes, creating jobs in America, and cutting out waste in government will result in debt reduction.

  5. Keeping it Real says:

    Will tell you one thing – Congress will make the time and extra effort to give themselves a pay raise – and believe me, they are not hurting for money.  It’s like they want the country-governmnet to fail.   It’s all about the almighty dollar to them – We may not see it right now, but,  in the end, their greed will lose out – their stupid plans will backfire –

  6. MTHeaded12 says:

    Need to correct the article titleto, “No Pay Raise Until the Senate Passes one of the House Budgets” Harry Rude hasn’t done squat.

  7. $17594902 says:

    How does 0.05% stack up against the inflation rate?

  8. Shaneeqa says:

    If it wasn’t so sily, it would be comical. Obama thinks that his little ploy will put pressure on us federal employees to bug our Congressmen to pass a budget , so we can get  a stinking .05% raise. Trying to get us feds to force them to do their job. Keep your lousy .05% and see you in the unemployment line after election day Mr. Obama.

  9. Leej says:

    .5% is a slap in the face to me as a GS worker. If they think it will save the country…keep it. I frankly do not think it will.

  10. steve5656546346 says:

    About half of all citizens do not pay any Federal taxes at the end of the day.  Obama is incensed that the other half is not paying its “fair share.”

    If the problem is tax loop holes, eliminate them!  Oh, but they were SOLD by politicians to gain campaign contribution (by politicians of both parties).

    Obama is a divider and a demonizer and a liar.

  11. NoDonkey says:

    Perhaps between fundraising, campaign speeches and playing golf, the president might want to talk to Harry Reid, who has been the single biggest obstacle as far as budgets are concerned.  By the way, what exactly is the president doing to earn HIS paycheck?  I’ve seen nothing lately. 

  12. Ross200 says:

    I retired after 32 years as a federal Worker. Federal Workers are world class saps. There should be a national strike of all federal workers, shut down the government. Do you think that government workers in the UK, Germany, France, Canada, Italy, Australia would tolerate these attacks on their compensation ? Federal Employees deserve what they are going to get from the Republicans and Democrats because they don’t have the cajones to fight for themselves. I don’t want to hear any of the strikes is illegal crap. This didn’t stop the Postal Workers 40 years ago. Life has taught me one thing, if you allow people top treat you like $%#@, they will.

    • Guest says:

      Yes, and look at the condition their in.

    • really amused says:

      You obviously don’t recall former President Reagan and the ATCs.  Strike and you will see what happens.  Yes, you are retired, but if any current worker strikes, there are millions of the unemployed waiting to take their place.

      • Ross200 says:

         I remember Reagan. The Air Traffic Controller Strike was not successful because the Union was incredibly greedy, and many Air Traffic Controllers refused to participate in the strike. If there was a huge participation rate among employees with managers showing solidarity, a strike could be successful. Federal Employees could not be quickly or efficiently replaced. I worked for the IRS, it takes years for a Revenue Agent or Revenue Officer to work at a high proficient level.

  13. Regbowdler says:

    Screw the republican richies…Anybody that votes that side of the aisle should be netting over $300K per year or they just are a fool…Just Saying

  14. Kcmastr says:

    They can keep that paltry .5%!!!