House approves pay raise for federal workers

House approves pay raise for federal workers
© Greg Nash

The House passed legislation to provide a pay increase for federal government workers on Wednesday, less than a week after the end of the partial government shutdown.

Twenty-nine Republicans joined Democrats in supporting the measure, which cleared 259-161.

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The Federal Civilian Workforce Pay Raise Fairness Act, introduced by Rep. Gerry ConnollyGerald (Gerry) Edward ConnollyTrump, Democrats set for brawl on Iran war powers Overnight Defense: Iran crisis eases as Trump says Tehran 'standing down' | Dems unconvinced on evidence behind Soleimani strike | House sets Thursday vote on Iran war powers Democrats 'utterly unpersuaded' by evidence behind Soleimani strike MORE (D-Va.), would provide a 2.6 percent pay raise, matching what was approved for the military earlier this year.

Its passage comes in the wake of the longest government shutdown in history, in which roughly 800,000 government employees were furloughed or working without pay.

“After five weeks of an unnecessary, costly and painful shutdown, the American people have been reminded how critical the work our federal employees perform is to our national security and economic security,” House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerHouse poised to hand impeachment articles to Senate House to vote on Iran war powers bills sought by progressives Khanna: Timing of Iran bill being weighed against getting bigger majority MORE (D-Md.) said on the floor. 

“Americans were horrified to learn that many civilian federal employees live paycheck-to-paycheck as they do. Even a single month's delay of income sent many of them to food pantries and in search of emergency loans. That isn't right.”

Critics of the bill argued it’s irresponsible to provide raises for government employees who have demonstrated poor work performance or inappropriate behavior. 

A Republican-backed motion to recommit that would have prohibited employees that were reprimanded for sexual misconduct from receiving the pay increase failed in a 206-216 vote, with one member voting present.