No Shutdown for Now, But What About a Pay Raise?

Congress passed a stopgap spending bill to avoid a partial shutdown. Where does this leave the possibility of a pay raise?

Congress approved a stopgap spending bill this afternoon to eliminate the possibility of a partial government shutdown at the end of the week. But now federal employees may be wondering what it means for the possibility of a pay raise next year.

Pay Raise, or Not?

The short answer is that nothing has changed. The stopgap spending bill does not address a pay raise in 2019.

President Trump has proposed a pay freeze for federal employees next year, but the Senate had previously approved a 1.9% pay raise. An earlier House bill did not contain the same pay raise, but then in October, word was that an agreement had tentatively been reached between the House and Senate that would move the pay raise forward. However, at least one aide cautioned that there was no deal despite the optimism from some lawmakers.

Turns out the precaution was warranted as there is as of yet no further movement on a pay raise. As we are nearing the end of 2018, it is likely an executive order will be issued late in December outlining the pay raise (or lack thereof) for 2019. Whether there is a raise or not will most likely depend on any action taken by Congress. President Trump has proposed not issuing a pay raise in 2019. Congress can override that and may still do so.

Partial Shutdown Averted, For Now

The stopgap spending bill that went through Congress today would fund the government until December 21.

As for the House, Senate and President Trump resolving their differences, that remains to be seen. The primary point of contention is funding over the border wall. The president has demanded it and maintained he would not sign a bill that doesn’t include his request for funding, but Democrats have been opposed to funding a wall.

The interest in this fight to federal workers is that if lawmakers do not resolve their differences, there may not be a raise in 2019, let alone jobs to come to work to if a partial shutdown were to leave some federal workers furloughed for a period of time.

We will continue to keep you updated on a 2019 pay raise as more information becomes available.

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.