(Washington, D.C.)—The House Budget Committee yesterday rejected, 15-21, a pay parity amendment offered by Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) to the FY 2005 Budget Resolution which would have helped ensure that both federal civilian employees and military personnel receive a 3.5% pay increase in 2005.
The Moran pay parity amendment was necessary because President Bush’s FY 2005 budget proposes a 3.5% pay increase for military personnel but only a 1.5% increase for civilian employees. The President’s proposal, which was unveiled on February 2, 2004, is an egregious attempt to disregard the bipartisan tradition of civilian-military pay parity that has prevailed in 19 of the last 22 years.
“AFGE supports pay parity for civilian employees and military personnel because during this unprecedented time in our nation’s history, both civilian employees and military personnel are fighting the war against terrorism and making significant contributions to the safety of the United States and its citizens. The contributions of both should be recognized by providing them with the same rate of pay increases. If military personnel receive a 3.5% pay increase in 2005, so should civilian employees,” said John Gage, National President of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE).
“Under the Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act (FEPCA), signed into law by President George H.W. Bush in 1990, civilian employees in 2005 should receive a 2.7% across-the-board pay increase and locality pay increases that would average 15.1% nationwide in order to achieve comparability with private sector compensation. While AFGE understands the fiscal reasons that preclude such a large pay increase, we believe the 2005 civilian pay increase should be no lower than the 3.5% pay increase proposed for military personnel,” Gage added.
The Moran amendment’s pay parity language was the result of intense negotiations with the Bush administration’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The language was endorsed in a March 11, 2004, letter to Rep. Jim Nussle (R-IA) from three important Republican House leaders—Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA), Chairman of the House Government Reform Committee; Rep. Jo Ann Davis (R-VA), Chairwoman of the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Civil Service and Agency Organization; and Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce-Justice-State-Judiciary-Related Agencies. And this pay parity language was included in the Senate’s FY 2005 Budget Resolution that was approved by the Senate on March 12, 2004.
Unfortunately, the Republican members on the House Budget Committee failed to follow the lead of OMB, the Senate, and Reps. Davis, Davis, and Wolf. Of the budget panel Republicans who voted, every Republican voted against the AFGE-supported Moran pay parity amendment.
At the same time, of those budget panel Democrats who voted, every Democrat voted for the AFGE-supported Moran pay parity amendment.