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Federal Employees News Digest : Sep 9, 2013
Phil Piemonte, Managing Editor E-mail: email@example.com What's Inside44 SEPTEMBER 9, 2013 • VOL. 63, NO. 8 Unions praise, faintly, president's 1 percent pay raise The White House last month notified Congress that it plans to implement an across-the-board 1 percent pay raise for federal employees---effective Jan. 1, 2014. President Obama informed congres- sional leaders on Aug. 30 of the plan, which if implemented would end a three-year pay freeze and raise the pay of employees covered by the General Schedule and certain other pay systems. The president's pay raise plan will go into effect in the new year, unless Congress blocks it. Federal law (under 5 U.S.C. 5303(b) and 5304) requires that when Congress has not passed a pay plan by August, in order to avoid an automatic schedule of pay adjustments the White House must issue an "alterna- tive pay plan"---in this case, Obama's 1 percent raise. "Civilian federal employees have already made significant sacrifices as a result of a three-year pay freeze," President Obama wrote in a letter to con- gressional leaders pressing for the raise. However, Congress can still pass its own pay proposal---one with or without a pay raise---between now and the end of the year, and override the plan. Unions welcome raise "The pay proposal from the president is a much-needed step to break the pay freeze that's been in place for three years," National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelley told FEND. "As for the amount, it's very modest---and that's not what I think federal employees should have." "Obviously, a three-year freeze has taken its toll on employees and their families," Kelley continued. "But I think it's important that we break the freeze, and get the issue of appropriate pay raises back on track---for this year, and the future." Kelley told FEND that, as far as prospects for passage go, "I hope that Congress will not block it---and that's where our work is now focused, getting this pay raise implemented." "It's all tied up in the timing of appro- priations, the continuing resolution, the debt ceiling, et cetera," Kelley said. Specifically, she noted that there could be a debt ceiling standoff in Congress, one which ends with either "some action or compromise to keep the government running" or---worst case---a shutdown. "I don't have a crystal ball, of course. I think the timing is questionable," Kelley told FEND, "Once Congress gets back in town, and is on this, we'll have a better idea." Other union leaders offered a sim- ilarly measured response to the pay increase. "Although the 1 percent is a piti- ful amount that doesn't begin to com- Sign of the times On a radio show not long ago, an interviewer asked four veteran reporters who the best U.S. president for fed- eral workers was. That is, under which presi- dent did feds gain the most? That's a tough ques- tion, because to give an honest, accurate answer, you have to shed all of your political baggage and bias (even though you know you are correct) and look at the bare facts. Devotees of MSNBC know that Fox News speaks with a forked tongue. Fox News fans can see through the biased reports of their rival network. Andsoonandsoon. Some people---especially in politi- cally supercharged Washington---find it impossible to purge themselves, even for a second, of a political bias or tilt. That said, who do you think they said was the best-for-feds U.S. president? Who would you say was the best, as a boss, for you? Give up? Three of the reporters said Richard M. Nixon was the man. The president where federal workers made the most gains (many of them pushed by a Democratic Congress) of any period. That maybe it was the high-water mark for feds with the White House and INSIGHT BY MIKE CAUSEY continued on page 2 For more news...see Federal Daily at www.FederalDaily.com • GSA announces per diems 3 • OPM answers ACA questions 3 • FEEA halts furlough loans 4 • In Brief 4 • Informed Investor 7 • Federal Benefits Q&A 8 continued on page 3
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Sep 16, 2013