President Barack Obama today sent a letter to Congress reiterating his call for a 2.0 percent pay raise for federal employees in January.
Obama said that the ailing economy,Â increasing demands on the federal government and the ongoing terrorist threatÂ are straining the federal budget. And since the federal government’s attrition continues to be relatively low, Obama said it will be tough to justify a larger pay raise.
The letter is something of a formality. In the unlikely event thatÂ Congress forgets to pass a federal pay raise, last year’s increase in the Employment Cost Index (which was 2.9 percent)Â would automatically become the average pay raise for federal employees unless the president sends Congress a letter setting an alternative pay raise.
But while it’s doubtful that Congress will cede its raise-setting power, Obama’s letter could give more strength to the House lawmakers who in July approved a 2.0 percent pay raise next year. The Senate, on the other hand, is pushing for a 2.9 percent raise.
National Treasury Employees Union National President Colleen Kelley, however, is not happy:
NTEU is disappointed that the administration continues advocating for a 2.0 percent pay increase for civilian federal employees in 2010. NTEU continues to support the principle of military and civilian pay parity and will continue to work to include an amount equal to the military raise, whether it is 2.9 percent or 3.4 percent.
NTEU recognizes that it has been a very difficult year for the economy[,] however pay parity is an important and accepted principle and reflects the reality that civilian and military workers both contribute strongly to our country and deserve the same percentage pay increase.
Obama first called for the 2.0 percent pay raise when he released his proposed fiscal 2010 budget in February.