President Obama told congressional leaders late Friday that he intends to give federal employees a 1 percent pay raise starting Jan. 1 because Congress has taken no action on the issue.
Obama had announced in his budget plan in April that he wanted to end a nearly three-year pay freeze for the federal workforce. But since Congress has not passed a spending plan for fiscal 2014, the president is required by the end of August to come up with an “alternative pay plan” to avoid a legal trigger that would automatically raise federal pay in line with private-sector salaries. That trigger could, in theory, give federal workers a raise of about 34 percent.
The president’s default action, however, is not the final word on a raise. Any law Congress enacts before the end of this year that sets a different figure or continues the freeze would override Friday’s order.
In a letter to House and Senate leaders, Obama said civilian federal employees “have already made significant sacrifices as a result of a three-year pay freeze.”