Jessica Klement, vice president for Advocacy at the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, discusses the congressional debate over a possible federal pay raise, and how it could affect agency employees.
As the debate continues on Capitol Hill about whether to raise federal salaries, an important voice comes from the employees who would benefit most. Jessica Klement, vice president for Advocacy at the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association says that because the FY 19 budget proposal contained a pay freeze, the House’s silence on the issue is “notable.” “When Congress is silent on a pay raise, that doesn’t necessarily mean a pay freeze. What it does is defer action on a pay raise to the president. If the House is silent and if the conference report remains silent and doesn’t include the 1.9 percent raise, then the president gets to decide pay raises for federal employees,” said Klement. “Given that the administration has already indicated strong support for a pay freeze next year, if Congress doesn’t act, federal employees are likely have their pay frozen. In this economy, with rising private-sector wage growth and a very low unemployment rate, it is really taking a hit at federal employees at the time when the private-sector is growing.”