The Senate Appropriations Committee has reported on the fiscal 2015 defense spending bill that includes a 1 percent pay raise for troops and Defense Department civilians. The amount is the same amount sought by President Obama in his 2015 budget and equal to the authorization from the Senate Armed Services Committee. The 1 percent pay raise supported by the Obama administration and the Senate is different than the 1.8 percent pay raise supported by the House when it passed its version of the fiscal 2015 Defense spending bill.
The military pay raise, determined by Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Cost Index and private-sector wages, would be an automatic 1.8 percent in 2015 if Congress or the president do not take steps to change that amount.
For civilian federal employees, the current path for a pay raise in the coming year probably has a familiar ring. Congress and the president would have to prohibit a raise and that has not been done. Instead, the 1% pay raise for federal employees that was previously proposed by the president is likely to go into effect. In his 2014 budget proposal, President Obama proposed a 1% pay raise and that is what was eventually implemented. In the absence of action by Congress, the president has authority to raise federal employee pay based on the Employment Cost Index and he may have that option again in 2015. (See Pay Freeze Ends: Federal Employees to Get 1% Raise in 2014)
The 2014 pay raise was the first across-the-board pay raise for federal employees since federal employees received a 2% increase in January 2010. During the pay freeze, federal employees still received payments such as bonuses, overtime, within-grade increases and promotion pay raises.
The House has passed seven fiscal 2015 spending bills this year; the Senate has yet to pass any.
The House of Representatives has approved a spending bill that would pave the way for a 1 percent, across-the-board pay raise for federal employees. What will finally happen to this is anyone’s guess as the bill would also cut funding for the Internal Revenue Service and other agencies. The House bill passed along a a mostly party-line vote and the Senate is unlikely to approve the bill as passed by the House. While the House bill did not approve a 1 percent pay raise, it did not approve any other amount or disapprove the 1 percent raise as proposed by the president in his 2015 budget request.
Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47