House Passes Bill to Give Pay Raise to Federal Civilian Employees

Jan 30, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (Jan. 30, 2019) —Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, issued the following statement on the House floor in support of H.R. 790, the Federal Civilian Workforce Pay Raise Fairness Act of 2019, which provides federal civilian employees with the same 2.6 percent pay increase in the calendar year 2019 that members of the military received. The bill passed by a vote of 259 to 161.

 

Below are Chairman Cummings’ remarks on the House floor:

 

Floor Statement

Chairman Elijah E. Cummings

H.R. 790, the Federal Civilian Workforce Pay Raise Act of 2019

January 30, 2019

 

I am proud to be an original cosponsor of H.R. 790—the Federal Civilian Workforce Pay Raise Fairness Act of 2019—along with my fellow colleagues of the local delegation.

I want to pay special thanks to Chairman Connolly and Majority Leader Hoyer for their leadership on this very important piece of legislation.

H.R. 790, as amended, would authorize a 2.6% pay raise for federal civilian workers for 2019, the same raise that our military service members are receiving this year. 

Historically, Congress has tried to ensure parity in pay increases between federal civilian employees and military service members. 

This bill would continue this longstanding tradition.

The bill would provide the pay raise to:

  • federal employees in the competitive and excepted services;

  • blue collar workers;

  • members of the career Senior Executive Service; and

  • employees in the scientific and senior level positions.

The men and women of our civil service deserve this same increase in pay because they have endured so much during the last several years.

They were subjected, Mr. Speaker, to repeated and unrelenting attacks on their pay and on their benefits.

They have suffered through pay freezes, hiring freezes, higher pension costs, and furloughs due to sequestration and government shutdowns.

Since 2011, federal workers have contributed nearly $200 billion to help reduce our country’s deficit and to fund other government programs.

These hardworking, dedicated federal workers include the 800,000 employees who were furloughed or forced to work without pay for 35 days during the longest shutdown in our great nation’s history. 

The men and women of our civil service were held hostage to a political dispute over funding for a border wall that the President had stated over and over again would be paid for by Mexico. There's something wrong with this picture.

These include: 

  • the members of the Coast Guard;

  • TSA screeners;

  • Department of Agriculture workers who help farmers and ranchers;

  • FAA air traffic controllers and safety inspectors;

  • FDA food inspectors;

  • The FBI;

  • EPA pollution inspectors;

  • Border Patrol agents; and

  • Secret Service agents.

 

Given all the hardship federal employees have experienced, they deserve a modest pay increase to help make up for the years of freezes and negligible increases and to help offset the cost of inflation.

The pay increase also would help the federal government compete against the private sector to recruit and retain highly qualified candidates to serve the American people.

116th Congress