Another small incremental step has been taken in Congress toward granting a pay increase of 1.3% for the federal workforce in 2016.
The House Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal year 2016 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill on June 17th. The bill provides annual funding for the Treasury Department, the Judiciary, the Small Business Administration, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and several other agencies. A committee press release notes that “The bill totals $20.2 billion in funding – $1.3 billion below the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $4.8 billion below the President’s budget request.”
In the arcane world of the federal budget process (and the annual federal pay raise process), the fact that the budget did not address any 2016 pay raise means that a 1.3% annual raise is more likely (although not assured). This is because President Obama has proposed a 1.3% pay raise for federal employees to become effective in January 2016. And, if Congress does not ultimately approve a different figure, as happened in the past two years, the 1.3% proposed earlier this year will become a reality. (See How Much Will Your Pay Increase in 2016?)
If the annual pay raise scenario again tracks what occurred for the 2015 pay raise, the president can wait until the end of August to formally announce the pay raise proposal for federal employees. In 2015, the president’s plan was announced at the end of August (See Obama Calls on Feds to Do Their “Fair Share” With 1% Pay Raise for 2015). At that time, President Obama issued a letter stating that he was able to hike pay through a law authorizing him to increase wages because of “national emergency or serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare.” He went on to note that “I view the adjustments that would otherwise take effect as inappropriate.”
And, on an unrelated item, an amendment to the bill would restore mail delivery standards to the July 1, 2012 level. Also, another amendment to the bill prohibits funding for the IRS to audit a faith-based 501(c)3 organization, unless the audit is approved the IRS Commissioner.