Pay Parity Issue Coming to a Head in Debate on 2005 Pay Raise

The Congressional debate on pay parity for 2005 may reach a head this week when a vote is taken on a resolution to support (or reject) pay parity.

Rep. Ernest Istook (R-OK) has been a champion for holding down additional spending on a pay raise for federal employees. He doesn’t want federal workers to get a 3.5% pay raise and prefers the Administration’s proposal of 1.5%. The additional cost of the larger pay raise would be approximately 2.2 billion dollars in the first year of the raise.

The pay parity controversy may be resolved this week–one way or the other. A vote is scheduled in the House of Representatives. Supporters of the larger pay raise are seeking support of Congress for giving the same pay increases to military and civilian personnel for fiscal year 2005.

If the measure passes, it will not require “pay parity” but would express Congressional sentiment in favor of the pay parity concept.

Congressman Istook is sending letters to other Congressmen on the issue to persuade them to see his side of the issue. He says that “We should not be giving raises that are twice as big as the president proposes. We’re being very fair to federal workers.” He also notes that federal employees have received pay raises that amount to 16.5 percent over the past four years. Therefore, says the Congressman, “They not only enjoy better job security and benefits than the private sector, but they’ve already been getting dramatically higher raises than almost anyone else in the country.”

The issue is similar to the one that surfaced in Congress last year on the same issue–whether federal civilians should get the same pay raise as military personnel. As many readers know, Congress voted in favor of the larger pay raise for fiscal year 2004.

You can see readers’ comments about this issue from a link on the left hand side of the page.

About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47