Pay Raise Could Fly Under Radar Again

The House budget outline could provide an early indication of the outcome of the 2015 federal employee raise, for which the White House is seeking 1 percent. Last year’s document was silent on the raise, effectively an indication that the Republican leadership there would not try to block the White House’s proposal for a 1 percent 2014 raise after three year…s of frozen salary rates. When that outline was being translated into specific spending bills for agencies, those bills similarly were either silent or said that if a raise were to be paid, agencies would have to absorb it from their general overhead accounts—which is ultimately what happened. The 1 percent raise took effect by default when no specific language was enacted, under a provision of pay law allowing the President to set a default raise in the absence of legislation. That sequence could play out again since it worked to the advantage of both sides, putting a raise in effect while not requiring new appropriations to pay for it.