By Justin Sink
President Obama proposed a one percent pay increase for federal workers and military employees in a pair of letters to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) sent Friday afternoon.
The one percent hike falls below a 1.3 percent increase that would have triggered had Obama not acted before the end of August. But the number is still likely to meet stiff resistance among budget hawks in Congress — who will ultimately decide what, if any, increase will kick in.
In his message to Boehner, Obama said federal workers "have already made significant sacrifices as a result of a three-year pay freeze," but said he also weighed ways "to keep our nation on a sustainable fiscal course."
None of the Republican budget proposals passed this year have increased pay for civilian employees, although GOP lawmakers have signaled a willingness to support a pay raise for military personnel. In a statement earlier this year, House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said Obama's push for a pay increase was "not necessary to retain talented employees and just wastes taxpayer money.”
“Federal employees have continued to receive promotions and within-grade pay increases over the past few years of the supposed ‘pay freeze,’ and voluntary separations from the federal government are near all-time lows,” Issa said.
But federal workers' unions say the one percent pay hike isn't enough as workers grapple with the effects of sequestration and frozen pay levels.
"Instead of holding to its promise to protect the middle class and the working poor, the administration seems determined to contribute to a worsening of living standards for federal workers, disabled veterans, and the elderly," American Federal of Government Employees president J. David Cox Sr. told the Alabama Media Group.