A pay raise for 2016 is wending its way through the annual budget process (the budget process occurs in most years anyway) in Congress.
In the latest iteration, the Senate Appropriations Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee has approved its fiscal 2016 spending bill. Perhaps of most importance to many readers, the bill does not address the federal employee pay raise for 2016. And, in the perverse logic that sometimes accompanies these events, this is probably good news for most federal employees.
By not addressing the subject, the president’s recommendation of a 1.3% annual pay raise is more likely. (See 1.3% Federal Pay Raise Proposed for 2016) The bill does address the pay issue for the Vice President and senior political appointees by denying them any raise. This bill that has just been approved by the subcommittee is normally where changes or provisions for a pay raise in the coming year would be addressed by the Senate.
The House version of the bill was also silent regarding a federal pay raise for 2016. The House bill had been scheduled to be considered by the full House last week, but controversy over the display of Confederate flags on federal property shelved that plan. (See The Confederate Flag and Your 2016 Pay Raise)
The full Senate committee will now consider the bill, probably in very short order.
The $20.6 billion bill would fund the Treasury Department, the Judiciary, Small Business Administration, Securities and Exchange Commission, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and several other agencies. Overall, the bill approved by the subcommittee is $1.3 billion below the enacted level for the current fiscal year and $4.0 billion below the President’s budget request.
Most agencies will see a cut in their budget, but the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is an exception. The bill contains $264.5 million for OPM, an increase of $24 million (or 10 percent) above the level for last year.
Most of the increases are to be be used to address security vulnerabilities which, as all federal employees probably know by now, has not been effective with massive amounts of personal information having been stolen by outside hackers, presumably the Chinese government. The bill fully funds the President’s requested increase for IT security improvements at the agency, while requiring OPM to work with Office of Management and Budget, Department of Homeland Security, and other agencies with expertise on data security in order to prevent future data breaches.
There are also several other issues addressed in the subcommittee’s bill including:
A prohibition on funds for an increase in pay for the Vice President and other senior political appointees;
A prohibition on funding for grants or contracts to tax cheats and companies with felony criminal convictions;
A prohibition against the use of funds to paint portraits of federal employees, including the President, Vice President, Cabinet Members and Members of Congress;
A requirement that departments and agencies funded by the bill link all contracts that provide award fees to successful acquisition outcomes, and a prohibition on funds to pay for award or incentive fees for contractors with below satisfactory performance; and
A prohibition on funding to implement an Executive Order on flood management.