WASHINGTON – Maryland and Virginia lawmakers have written to President Obama in an effort to maintain pay parity between America’s civilian and military public servants. U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-Md.), Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-Va.), Congressman Steny H. Hoyer and Senator-elect Chris Van Hollen (both D-Md.) have called on President Obama to update his recent executive order affirming a 1.6 percent pay increase for civilians to match the 2.1 percent pay increase for military personnel included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
“Our federal workforce is a critical national asset we should not take for granted,” the lawmakers write. “While we support the biggest pay increase possible for our military members, with very few exceptions we have had parity with respect to pay raises for the military and for civilian federal employees.”
The text of the letter is below and at this link.
December 7, 2016
The Honorable Barack H. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
We anticipate that Congress will send you the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with a 2.1 percent pay increase for our servicemen and women. While we support the biggest pay increase possible for our military members, with very few exceptions we have had parity with respect to pay raises for the military and for civilian federal employees. The 2017 pay raise you have requested for civilian employees is 1.6 percent. We respectfully request, therefore, that you issue a new Executive Order seeking a 2.1 percent pay increase for all federal workers, including civilian workers.
Our federal workforce is a critical national asset we should not take for granted. Federal workers are constantly being denigrated even as they carry out critical missions under difficult circumstances. Since 2011, federal workers have “contributed” over $180 billion to deficit reduction. Pay freezes, salaries lost to the sequestration-related furlough, and higher pension contributions have hurt a largely middle class workforce that has a higher percentage of women, minorities, and veterans than the private sector workforce.
Federal workers are dedicated and patriotic public servants, and many of them also serve in harm’s way. Increasingly, they are asked to do more and more with less and less. That trend is likely to accelerate: President-elect Trump has promised to shrink the federal workforce substantially. And if past is prologue, we can expect that the Republican majorities in the House and Senate will pass punitive bills aimed at the collective bargaining rights, workplace conditions, civil service protections, and health care, retirement, and other benefits of those who remain.
We think our request is fair. We feel strongly that the principal of parity with respect to pay increases for the military and for our civilian employees should be maintained and earnestly hope that you will agree.
Benjamin L. Cardin
Barbara A. Mikulski
Steny H. Hoyer
Chris Van Hollen