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Obama Stands Firm on 2 Percent Civilian Pay Hike

Obama Stands Firm on 2 Percent Civilian Pay Hike

Courtesy AP via YellowBrix

Alyssa Rosenberg | Government Executive

October 02, 2009

Citing the ongoing economic crisis and a ballooning federal budget, President Obama announced he would use his authority to set a 2 percent pay raise for federal employees starting in January 2010.

The proposal angered employee groups and lawmakers who have pushed for pay parity between civilians and members of the military, who are slated to receive a 3.4 percent raise if appropriators follow the guidelines in the 2010 Defense authorization act, or a 2.9 percent boost if Congress sticks to President Obama’s February recommendation. But the Obama administration promised a leading House Democrat that that the president would pursue pay parity in subsequent years.

“A national emergency… has existed since Sept. 11, 2001,” Obama wrote in an Aug. 31 letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. “Likewise, with unemployment at 9.5 percent in June to cite just one economic indicator, few would disagree that our country is facing serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare. The growth in federal requirements is straining the federal budget.”

Office of Management and Budget Director Peter R. Orszag echoed Obama’s sentiments in a July 9 letter to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md. But, Orszag wrote, “The administration shares your commitment to a strong civil service….The administration is therefore committed in future years to the principle of pay parity between the annual pay increase for the federal civilian workforce and members of the armed services.”

Under the law governing pay for civilian federal employees, workers are entitled to an across-the-board raise equal to 0.5 percentage points less than the growth in the Labor Department’s Employment Cost Index. This year, that would have been a 2.4 percent raise, plus an increase in locality pay. But Obama said the $22.6 billion required to implement that pay hike would be too costly. Congress could still override the president’s plan.

Max Stier, president of the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service, criticized Obama for refusing to acknowledge that he simply does not want to raise federal pay.

“We’re operating under a fiction where every year, every president cites a national emergency to avoid a pay raise the law otherwise requires for the federal workforce,” Stier said. “That’s not a way to run a railroad or a way to run a government…. It becomes Kabuki theater, and for an administration that wants transparency, this is not transparency.”


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    kecemot

    almost 4 years ago

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    lilfrannymil

    almost 5 years ago

    4 comments

    S now the military gets a 3.4 % raise and civilians get 2% sounds like descrimination to me. I am a widow of military,a fatherless child due to WWII and retired fro US DAC with 36 years. Cost of living has increased so our pay decreases and before long if grandma or grandpa get sick just let them suffer and die because they are not cost affective. LUDICROUS!!! OUTRAGE! I support the military as my family and my husbands family is military for generations but how can a civilians pay be any less deserving than a military? If we allow the government to control and dictate everything then isn't that comunistic or capitalism?? Armagaedeon ic coming.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    wizard92

    almost 5 years ago

    2 comments

    How's that hope and change workin out for you?
    Understand that the senate/congress pay raises are not tied to the same pay raises as the rest of the federal workforce. BHO knows that and so does congress. And yes the race card did come out rather quickly.

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    sec123

    almost 5 years ago

    4 comments

    There is a sever limit to what a president can do. Obama has to work within the narrow ideologies of the people whom we voted into congress, who are the ones that actually make the laws. We are basically limited to two general solutions for any given issue. Until we vote ourselves out of the two party system there isn't going to be any real "change", and I wouldn't hold my breath. Even though the general public may complain endlessly about how things are, they are for the most part uncomfortable with any sort of change in the status quo and will not support something novel. Voting for Obama was not voting for change, it was voting for a Democrat.

    On the topic of the article, I think it's a given that any sort of obligatory pay increase should take into account the current economic environment as well as other factors such as work force recruitment, retention, etc.... This should be evaluated indipendantly for each area of service. There are certain elements that take higher priority in armed service pay than in the civilian workforce for example. The "pay parity" concept is purely political and self-serving and simply makes no sense. Even as a current government civilian I can't support it.

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    kmfenner

    almost 5 years ago

    4 comments

    Well, I'm African American and one who voted and supported President Barack Obama. But it appears to me that not one thing that I have hoped for with him as president has come into being... Initially, I truely believed that the economic state of America would change. I'm especially upset that not enough force and committment has been done in regard to the housing market. Not enough has been done to "mandate" mortgage lenders to help the citizens. Nothing has been done to "stop" foreclosure in it's tracks. Nothing has been done about the unemployment. Not enough is being done to increase the employment. Not enough has been done about education in my opinon. I mean to increase the Pell Grant limits is all good if you are unemployed... But to the middle class (so most of us are called) we are still stuck! How are people suppose to qualify for jobs if they don't have the creditials to get the job. How are they suppose to be able to get the job if they don't have the education. Yes, he's trying with the young folks for the future, but what about those adults who need money, work, and education now. How is he helping "THE NOW MOMENT". Now to say that he only wants to give people in the federal government a 2% raise is crazy. I mean half of the contractor, and private sector jobs have dwindled down... So now what?
    Because of what I've seen so far with the new administration, I'm not in support of any healthcare... so called stimulus packages...green jobs... beer summits... daily TV and photo ops... I ain't feeling it! I have finished "drinking the coolaid"! Now it's time for substance!

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    notlef70

    almost 5 years ago

    4 comments

    Were all of you people complaining like this when Bush was in office? Heck no. What Obama has inherited is utter chaos, but you all seem to act as if this started when he was elected. Only because he's BLACK..... You people try to cover it up by using "issues" to try and discredit him, but what would have any of the other candidates done differently?

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    ralphbrown48

    almost 5 years ago

    4 comments

    Obama definition = One Big Ass Mistake America ...

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    wtewelow

    almost 5 years ago

    24 comments

    OBAMA WANTS TO PAY FOR HEALTHCARE NOT ONLY WITH YOUR TAXES BUT WITH YOUR INCOME AS WELL.
    I love it! The morons running government are showing us exactly who they really are. They are wolves in sheep's clothing. Their idea of prosperity is to impoverish the masses and line their coffers. This is exactly what the Democratic platform has stood for for the last 40 years, but the until now the Republicans stood in the way. Now with majorities in the house, senate, white house and judiciary we are seeing them for who they truly are. Can you say Marie Antoinette and Louis XIV, i.e.: "If they have no bread let them eat cake." These comments marked the tipping point in France. As the great historian said, " Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." -George Santayana
    So here we go again: Ignorance begets Arrogance and we have a dumb and ignorant majority of voters who have now elected an arrogant majority to govern the nation. Oblivion is not far away.

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    mldolan

    almost 5 years ago

    2 comments

    we arent talking about fat cat senators and congressmen getting raises, these are average joes' working a thankless 9-5 job, in a cubicle farm somewhere. while the contractor sitting next to them is getting double the salary for half the work. if emperor for life obama really wanted to save money, he would kick out all the outsourced federal jobs that have gone to the big defense contractors, and re-hire federal employees to fill those positions. take a look at the budget for govt contractors that are doing the same jobs as former federal workers. it is enormous, we could get our raise and then some, and if he thinks morale isn't already in the toilet now, just wait till january.

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    STSret

    almost 5 years ago

    10 comments

    Here we go again - always have to play the race card. Quickest way I know to discredit the rest of the argument

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    alicepaul49

    almost 5 years ago

    2 comments

    "Well all you people yelling are the ones who didn't vote for Obama and just need any excuse to trash him and his administration. These are the same rightwing nut jobs who are yelling about goverment run healthcare but bring loaded guns to healthcare town hall meetings. They yell about not wanting goverment run anything but yet they are on Medicare, social security and veteran’s public tit! These are the ones who don't want this and don't want that, yet everything they don't want is being done by the fat insurance companies now! Why don't they wakeup and wonder why these companies are spending 1.4 million dollars a day to defeat healthcare? These are the same people who said the something about Medicare, social security and yes even veterans healthcare which is run by the goverment! Yet they don't want you to take any of these things away now. A lot of this yelling has nothing to do with healthcare but pure and simple racism they hide it in their so call debates. The don't know without change even the dinosaurs could tell them that, if they could speak now. This is my first time getting this out on any media and it feels good that I did! If there’s a reason Obama is doing what this article is saying then it must be a long range plan to it that will be good for all? Remember Reagan did the something but they weren't yelling then. I'm not some democratic fool either, I voted for Bush in 2004 and yes I'm black. We had some good things come out of his administration but now are now and a change is going to come so we all won’t go the way of the dinosaurs! HAVE A BLESSED DAY."

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    Murdock

    almost 5 years ago

    24 comments

    Obama lied then Grandma died. Besides him rationing off healthcare and killing our grandparents, I did not think he could find another way to screw me over. Thanks to all you voters who voted for this clown.

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    vette59

    almost 5 years ago

    2 comments

    I have accepted Obama and his followers. We are so far gone there is no earthly way we can survive as a country. The thing that really surprises me is it seems the majority of so called Americans support their savior. I hope they are enjoying the promised changes although I don't thing these are the changes his followers had hoped for or maybe this is exactly what they want.

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