A couple of events in Congress late Friday afternoon will interest our readers.
Congress has approved a pay raise giving members a raise of $3100 or so. With no discussion or argument, the pay for most rank-and file Congressmen went up to $165,200 a year. Based on a recent survey, most readers won’t necessarily think that is a good idea. (See “Congressional Pay and Your 2006 Raise.”)
On the other hand though, Congress continued its generosity with the public purse by raising the salaries of federal employees by 3.1%. The new pay rate would become effective in January.
The raise is in the appropriations bill covering the Transportation, Treasury and Housing and Urban Development departments, Judiciary, District of Columbia and independent agencies. It was approved in the House by a vote of 392-31. It passed in the Senate by voice vote.
The administration has proposed a raise of 2.3% and there was also an attempt by some Senators to eliminate the 2006 raise altogether. There is no indication that the President will veto this bill over the issue of the pay raise so the amount is creeping closer to reality.
The 3.1% average raise would match the raise to be given to military personnel but would fall short of the 4.1% cost of living increase many federal retirees will see next year.
One thing all readers will agree on is that the process for setting federal pay rates is tortuous and time-consuming. Because of the locality pay provision, the actual raise will vary by region. The 3.1% is an average raise. Some current federal employees will actually get more than 5% and some will get less than the 3.1%.