House Approves 3.1% Raise for Feds in 2020, Blocks Dismantling of OPM

Categories: Pay, OPM, The Insider

Thanks to the thousands of calls AFGE members made to Congress, the House of Representatives on June 26 approved a 3.1% raise for federal employees next year, rejecting President Trump’s proposed pay freeze.

AFGE President J. David Cox Sr. thanked members of Congress for doing the right thing and supporting federal employees.

“Federal employees suffered terrible losses in the aftermath of the Great Recession – in terms of pay and retirement benefits,” Cox said. “The economic recovery is in full swing and it’s long past time to begin to restore some of those losses. The 3.1% is a good start toward bringing federal wages and salaries back up toward pre-recession purchasing power.”

The raise is part of the 2020 Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill, which also includes a measure prohibiting the Trump administration from dismantling the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

The House also approved an amendment blocking the administration from acting on its threat to furlough or lay off 150 OPM employees if Congress doesn’t agree with its plan to blow up OPM and merge the central personnel agency with the General Services Administration (GSA).

The amendment was offered by Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., who blasted the administration for threatening Congress with the furlough of the employees.

“They are now holding 150 civil servants hostage in an attempt to force Congress’ hand into this terrible idea. We cannot allow them to be bargaining chips,” he said “The inadequate plan to dismantle OPM has been a disaster, and now that they cannot win on the merits, they’re resorting to blackmail.”

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said making OPM an effective, efficient organization is an objective that everyone ought to share.

“But I do not support what I perceive to be a retaliatory suggestion about laying off people at OPM. In other words, if we can’t merge it, we’re going to lay them off,” Hoyer said from the House floor. “Frankly, if there is evidence that there are too many people to do the job that is being done and that we can either transfer people to other agencies that might need them, that’s one thing. But I don’t think that’s the evidence that we see.”

At a June 27 congressional hearing, OPM still couldn’t provide legal analysis that supports its proposed merger, angering members of Congress from both sides of the aisle.

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