Senate Approves 1.9% Pay Raise

The Senate has passed a spending bill which puts federal employees one step closer to getting a pay raise (rather than a pay freeze) in 2019.

The Senate has passed a spending bill that contains a 1.9% average pay raise for federal employees in 2019.

So is the pay raise a done deal? Not just yet…

The White House proposed a pay freeze next year for federal employees and also reiterated that stance more recently in a statement issued by the Office of Management and Budget.

Unless Congress takes action, whatever the President proposes will become the final pay raise for the federal workforce. That is what has happened in most recent years.

The Senate approving the pay raise is only part of the action ultimately needed by Congress to override the White House’s proposed pay raise. The spending bill will now have to be negotiated between the House and the Senate to reach a compromise on the differences in their versions of the bill. This could take a little while since the House is in recess for the rest of August.

The House version did not include the pay raise, so it is unknown at this point if the final bill that heads to the White House will contain the pay raise. If it does not, then most likely a pay freeze will be what is in store for the federal workforce next year.

Even if the final bill coming out of Congress contains the pay raise, it must then be signed into law by President Trump, who has recently threatened to veto spending bills that do not contain funding for border security, even at the expense of a government shutdown.

The fact that the pay raise took another step forward this week and is not completely off the table yet is probably a good sign for the federal workforce. We will continue to keep you updated on this issue as it plays out in the coming months.

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.